Skip to main content

Full text of "ERIC ED275027: Principal Leadership and Self Appraisal of Effectiveness."

See other formats


ED 275 027 EA 018 865 





Miserandino, Anthony 

Principal Leadership and Self Appraisal of 


Oct 86 

14p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the 
Society of Educators and Scholars (11th, Louisville. 
KY, October 10-11, 1986). 

Guides - Non-Classroom Use (055) — Tests/Evaluation 
Instruments (160) — Speeches/Conference Papers (150) 

KF01/PC01 Plus Postage. 

♦Administrator Role; Leadership; Models; *Principals; 
Questionnaires; *School Effectiveness; Secondary 
Education; *Self Evaluation (Individuals) 


Several models for improving school effectiveness are 
now available, and most of them highlight the principal's leadership 
role. Unfortunately, administrators do not regularly reflect on the 
important aspects of their professional roles or analyze the factors 
that may make it difficult for them to implement given models of 
effectiveness in their particular settings. This paper proposes a 
model for self -appraisal by principals. Principals should first 
review the research literature on competing models of school 
effectiveness. Second, principals should select the effectiveness 
model that best meets their needs, then match their own abilities 
with those required of administrators by the model. Finally, 
principals should interact with the effectiveness model to discover 
their own strengths and weaknesses. Limitations on the self-appraisal 
model include (1) the difficulties in selecting criteria for judging 
effectiveness, (2) the confounding effects of experience and 
expertise, and (3) the implicit assumption that principals bring 
administrative knowledge to the process. An evaluation form to use in 
the self -appraisal process is included in the paper. Twenty-six 
references are cited. (P6D) 

*********************************************** ************************ 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the original document. * 
************************************************************** ********* 

0*f«e o* Educational Research and Improvement 


Lif This document has been reproduced as 
\ received Irom the person or organization 

originating it 
□ Minor Changes have been made to improve 

reproduction quality 

e Points of view or opinions stated in this docu- 
ment do not necessarily represent official 
OERI position or policy 




Dr. Anthony Miaerandino 

Sacred Heart High School 
Yonkera, New York 10703 

Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual Conference of the 
Society of Educatora and Scholara, Bellarmine Collage, 
Lou is v i 1 1 e , Kentucky , October , 1986 . 


Principal Leadership and Self -Appraisal 
of Effectiveness 

The call to identify ways the principal can make schools more 
effective has become louder over recent years as reflected in the 
recent studies of schooling (Boyer, 1983; National Commission on 
Excellence in Education, 1983; Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore, Duaton, & 
Smith, 1978) • The operative assumption is that the leadership of the 
principal is critical to the healthy functioning of a school. By and 
large the research literature would support this assumption < Alkin, 
Daillack, £ White, 1979; Persell, Cookson & Lyon, 1982; Purkey & Smith, 
1982; Russell, White & Maurer, 1985) . 

While the demand for such effectiveness is directed towards the 
principal, and the existence of models to evaluate effectiveness are 
available there is the need for a reflective and personal critique of 
factors which may make it difficult for an individual principal in a 
particular setting to implement a given model of effectivess. 

This need for personal reflection is clearly felt when one 
approaches principals about their concerns. The excuses for the lack 
of such reflection, and the concurrent lack of self -appraisal are 
many: <Barth,1985; Schon, 1983). 

Given the rush and competing demands, as well as the complexity 
of the institution ( Miles, 1986), administrators do not regularly 
reflect on what they consider to be the basic and vitally important 
aspectc of their professional role. 

Briefly, what I would propose for the model of self -appraisal in 
this paper is the following. First, administrators need to survey the 



recearch literature to examine the many competing models of 
effectiveness vhich exist (Barman, 1984; Blumberg £ Greenfield, 1980; 
Louis, 1986; Miles, 1986; National Associationof Secondary School 
Principals, 1985; Persell,,1982; Russell, White, & Maurer, 
1985; Rutherford, Hord, Huling & Hall, 1983). Next, they need to 
define their abilities against the model which seems to fit best the 
needs of the administrator. In what way does the model offer both 
direction and a critique of the administrator's abilties and talents? 
How can the model accommodate and take into account the school culture 
and supervisory responsibilities which the principal deems to be of 
highest priority? 

Accounting for the model and its fit with the ethos of the school 
is critical. To overlook the school culture is to lose the opportunity 
for enhancement of the principal's effectiveness (Deal & Kennedy, 
1982; Jelinek, Smircich, & Hirsch, 1983; Sarason, 1971). Lastly, the 
person needs to "dialogue" with the model and discover strengths and 
weaknesses by allowing the model to reveal sources of each. 

I have found that principals seldom have been afforded the 
dignity or the time to reflect on their principalship. Typically, the 
independence and self-confidence needed to engage in this 
self -directed reflection process is seldom encouraged by heavily 
bureaucratic systems that reward centralization and conformity rather 
than individualization and differentiation of principals needs—to say 
nothing of celebrating one's abilities! This is one of the valuable 
contributions of the Principal 

Center at the School of Education at Harvard University (Levine, 
1985) . 

The above process seeks to put the responsibility for enhancement 

of a principal ' a effectiveness in the hands of the principal. Too 
often such professional development of the principal has been 
prescribed from the outside: teacher surveys, staff evaluation, 
superiors, the "university community". 

A key assumption here is that the person serving as principal has 
the basic professional and personal skills and qualities which are 
prerequisite for the position of the head of a school. In addition, I 
am assuming that such a person has a firm and clearly articulated 
vision of what schools ought to be about. Building upon these 
qualities, it is my belief that self -motivated principals are open to 
self -analysis of their efforts and are willing to adjust accordingly. 
It is in this way that such principals provide the leadership so 
necessary to act as change agents/managers in the process of school 
improvement (Berman, 1984) • 

By demonstrating openness to self -reflection and personal reform 
principals set the stage for institutional openness and reform 
required to take advantage of the outside community's resources needed 
to implement significant change. Such modelling on the principal's 
part may impact in a positive fashion on the next level of critical 
administrators of change, department heads (Louis, 1986b). 
Three Challenges to Self -Appraisal 

With any method of evaluation there are likely to be limitations. 
Inherent in the model of self -appraisal being offered here are the 

First, deciding upon the criterion to utilise in judging 
effectiveness is difficult. Given the variety of criteria, the 
contexts in which they are relevant, and the personal bias in 
selecting one versus another set of criteria it is little wonder that 



the proceac of self -appraisal ia often eet aside. This limitation is 
greatly reduced when utilizing criteria which are generated by an 
expansive model built upon sound research. THe model borrowed from 
Leithwood and Montgomery (1985) has proven to be an excellent starting 

Second, the confounding effects of experience and expertise. It 
would be easy to dismiss failure as a result of the lack of experience 
and attribute success to years of service. The effects of both 
variables need to be taken into account by the principal in the 
self -appraisal process. 

Third, the model of self -appraisal assumes that the principal 
brings a body of administrative knowledge to the task. The difficulty 
here is in integrating the various strands of information into a 
coherent aeta- theory to guide administrative behavior. By working with 
a model of self -appraisal, the assumption is that over time principals 
will more readily understand the "decision rules'* they employ, and the 
personal and institutional characteristics operative which challenge 
the consistent application of such rules. 
Principal Effectiveness: One Model 

In my experience the most useful model for self -appraisal is 
based upon the work of Leithwood and Montgomery (1985). Their work 
builds upon previous work in the field, and has incorporated reseach 
findings based upon 200 principals across six school systems. 
Utilization of this model by principals for the purpose of in-aervica 
education has been useful: "while principals' specific reactions to 
the profile varies from accepting to skeptical, most have been 
stimulated to reexamine, weigh, and reflect on their work to an extent 
largely unpreceded in their experience. M 


Princ ipal Behaviors and Self -appraisal 

Based upon the research cited above the following set of 
questions are meant to elicit from the principal an evaluaiton and 
understanding of the factors which impact upon personal effectiveness. 

A. Goal Setting Behaviors ; place a check on the line indicating 
your relative pceition between choices: 

1. School goals and the vision of education which guides your work 
arc derived from: 

Public research I I I Administrative 

your school need for good 

needs analysis of order 

2. How much congruence exists between espoused school goals and 
the planning of their implementation and evaluation: 

great deal I I I nonexistent 

3. How often are goals reviewed and communicated to school 
constituency (students, teachers, parents, local community) : 

regular /systematic I , I I n only when 

procedures in place required 

Give an example of the goal selection process utilized during the 
past year. Be specific in describing the selection, implementation 
and evaluation of the effects of the goal on the school program. 
What, if anything, would you do different x:e.^t time you are faced 
with a similar administrative responsibility? 
B. Instructional /Program Activities : 

1. Instructional objectives are clearly stated, based upon student 
ability levels, and integrate teacher input: 


Clearly stated I I I vague 

baaed upon student 1 I | imposed from 

need/abi 1 1 ty oust ide 

integrate teacher I I I administrative 

input directive 

Systematical ly I ( I ^ I o no clear procedures 

implemented/evaluated for monitoring 

2. Time in the school setting is used so as to focus student 
and teacher attention to instructional objectives: 

high priority to I I I outside events 

teaching time disrupt order 

3. Curriculum development seeks to integrate instructional 

regular/ I I ! rarely attended 

systematic to by leaders 

4. Long-term goals in instructional/curriculum development are 
broken down into smaller, manageable objectives and timetable: 

regular/ I , I I unmanageable/ 

systematic timeless 

5. Special characteristics of the school are recognized and 
integrated into instructional /curriculum development: 

fully developed I I ! intuitive/ 

needs assesment unexamined 

6. Expectations about student achievement and instructional 
objectives are derived from: 

research/ I I ! personal 

prof essi ona 1 3 udgemen te exper i ence 


Strategies for Enhancing Program Development : thia section seeks 
to review the procedures you use to intervene or assist in 
realizing school goals. 

Which of the following strategies do you employ: 

building of interpersonal relationships among staff 

provision of staff with knowledge and skills 

enhanced wi thin-school communication procedures 

allowance for nonteaching time for staff 

establishment of procedures to handle routine matters 

direct relationship with students 

Select an important goal you worked on for the year and 
describe the strategies utilized in its realization. 
Which didn't you use, but in hindsight, should have employed? 
What accounted for your failure to include theae at the time 
you were making decisions? 

Which of the following considerations were over-looked in your 
selection of strategy/goal match: 

. the nature of the goal to be achieved 

the school processes to be influenced 

characteristics of the people involved 

competing activities going on in the school 

school norms (both past and present) 

past administrative experience 

the nature of the difficulties seeking to be addressed 

Of the strategies listed above, which are ones you seldom utilize 
during the year? What are the personal and institutional reasons 
for their lack of use? 

What adjustments (personal and/or institutional 


can you make to behave differently in the future? 
IK Decision-making Procedures ; 

1. Effective principals demonstrate use of a wide range of different 
forms of decision making. Which of the following forms describe 
procedures utilized by you: 

unilateral decisions 

delegated responsibility 

consensus building 

majority vote 

Describe the factors which differentiate your use of each of the 
above procedures. Are you especially resistant to any one 

What do you think accounts for this hesitation? Are your decisions 
viewed as fair, consistent, and clearly communicated? 

2. Give three examples of the way in which you monitor the decision 
making procedures which characterize your administartive style. 

3. Which- of the following sources of information do you employ 
in making decisions: 

policies of local school board 

responses of faculty on issue to be addressed 

informal/formal class visits 

research literature on issue to be addressed 

analyses of standardized test results, report cards 

formal assessment of student needs 

school handbook of procedures/routines 

other : 

What patterns emerge in monitoring decision making procedures and 
sources of Information? What accou n ts for failing to use as many 

EMC 10 

resources as possible i n your making of decisions? If such a 
failure does exist, what steps can you take to increase your 
use of resources in the future? How communicate this change in 
your stance to other school personnel? 
E. Action Plan Develo pment 

There were four areas reviewed in the self -appraisal process. 
Which one of these areas proved to be the most demanding of you skills 
and abilities. What are the steps you need to take in order to 
addresses weaknesses you perceived as your reviewed your behavior in 
this area. Be specific, concrete, and realistic in setting your 
objectives for improvement. What criteria will you use to monitor and 
judge your success in self improvement? 

Is there some reason blocking your use of other administrative 
personnel to assist you in this process of self -improvement • Research 
clearly indicates that support from others is essential if you are to 
increase your effectiveness as a principal. Has your plan for 
improvement taken into account all the factors necessary to insure 
modest success over time. 

Recently <an educational writer (Louis, 1986b) predicted that less 
than half of all programs for increasing school effectiveness would 
succeed becasue they were so dependent upon outside, centrally located 
authorities. By way of contrast, there is strong evidence that change 
orchestrated at the school level has a significant chance of making a 
difference (Berman, 1978; Crandall, Eiseman & Louis, 1986). The 
principal is the key player in this change process. 

It would be my hope that engaging in a process of self -appraisal 
of one's own personalised mndtfgt*t£os , ef£ecfca fcemfecsyt scsf fror«te::t -cpcciXlc 


as possible, would enahance the odds In favor of efforts for 
increasing student achievement by enhancing the effectiveness of 
schools and the principals who guide them. 

Educational reform is hard work; there is no magical handbook 
available. One of the critical elements for enhancing the work of 
schools is the personal and professional growth evidenced by the 
school principal. The process of self -appraisal offered here is one 
step in the direction of effective schooling. 



Alkin, H.C.; Daillack, R . : and White, P. (1979) Using evaluations: 
Does evaluation make a Difference? Beverly Hills: Sage 
Publications, 1379. 

Barth,R.S. vl985) Outside looking in — Inside looking in. Phi 
Delta Kappan, January, 356-358. 

Herman, P., (1978) The study of macro-and micro-implementation. Public 
Policy, (22), Spring. 

Herman, P. (1984) Improving school improvement. Berkeley,. California: 
Berman Weiler Associates. 

Boyer, E. (1983) High school. New York: Harper & Row. 

Blumberg, A. & Greenfield, W. (1980) The effective principal: 

perspectives on school leadership. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 

Crandall, D.; Eiseman, J. and Louis, K.S. (1986) Strategic Planning Issues 
that Bear on the Success of School Improvement Efforts, Educational 
Administration Quarterly (Summer 1986) • 

Deal, TR • E • , ^Kennedy , A. A. (1982) Corporate cultures. Reading, MA: 
Addison-Wesley • 

Hall, G. , Rutherford, W.L., Hord, S.M.,& Huling, L.L. (1984) Effects of 

three principal styles on school improvement. Educational Leadership, 
41, (5), 22-31. 

Jelinek, M. , Smircich, L.,&Hirsch, P. (1983) Special issue of 
Administrative Science Quarterly on Organizational 
Culture, (28) , 3. 

Leithwood, K.A., £. Montgomery, D.J. (1982) The principals' role in 

program improvement. Review of Educational Research, 52, 309-340. 

Leithwood, K.A., & Montgomery, D.J. (1983) A profile of growth in 

principal effectiveness. Unpublished manuscript. Ontario Institute 
for Studies in Education, Toronto. 

Levine,S.L. (1985) Principals exchange. Harvard graduate school 
of education, (1), 1,2-4. 

Lipham, J.M. ,Dunstan, J.F.,& Ranker, R.E.(1981> The relationship of 
decision involvement and principals* leadership to teacher job 
satisfaction in selected secondary schools. (Tech. Rep. No. 571) . 
Madison Wisconsin Research and Development Center for 
Individualizing Schools. 

Louis, K.S. (1986a) A Survey of Effective Schools Programs in 

Urban High Schools, paper presented at the annual meeting of 
the American Educational Research Association. 

Louis, K.S. (1986b) Reforming secondary schools: a critique 


and an adgenda for administrators. Educational leadership, 
(44), 1, 33-36. 

Miles, M. (1986) Reforming the urban high school. Paper presented 
at the American Educational Research Association meeting, 
San Francisco. 

National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983) A nation at risk: 
The imperative for educational reform .Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of 

National Association of Secondary School Principals (1985) Performance- 
based preparation of principals - A framework for improvement. 
A Special Report of the NASSP Consortium for the Performance- 
Based Preparation of Principals. Reston, VA: NASSP • 

Persell, C.H., Cookson, P.W.&Lyon H (1982) Effective principals:What do 
we know from various educational literatures? Washington, DC: National 
Institute of Education. 

Purkey,S.G., and Smith, M.S. (1982) Too Soon to Cheer? Synthesis of 
research of effective schools. Educational Researcher 
(December 1962), 6-9. 

Russell, J.S., White, T.E., & Maurer, S.D. (1985) Linking the 

behaviors and activities of secondary school principals to 
school effectiveness: A technical report. University of 
Oregon: Center for Educational Policy and Management. 

Rutherford , W . L . , Hord , S . M . , Huling,L.L. ,£> Hall ,G.E. (1983) Change 
faciliators: In search of understanding their role. 
(Report No. 5159) . Austin: University of Texas at Austin, 
Research and Development Center for Teacher Education. 

Rutter, M. , Maughan, B . ,Mortimore,P. ,Ouston, J. ,& Smith, A. (1979) Fifteen 
thousand hours: Secondary schools and their effects on children. 
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Sarason, Seymour, (1971) The Culture of the school and the 
problem of change. Boston: Allyn Bacon, 1971. 

Schon,D.A. (1983) The reflective practioner .New York: Basic Books.