Measuring Principal Performance: How Rigorous Are Publicly Available Principal Performance Assessment Instruments?

Christopher Condon and Matthew Clifford
Learning Point Associates
December 2009

This short brief from Learning Point Associates takes a look at eight widely-used principal evaluation systems. To be considered, systems had to serve the purpose of performance evaluation, be publically available, and pass psychometric tests of reliability (answers are consistent when a test-taker retakes the test, all other factors constant) and validity (the assessment areas had to be realistically measurable). Of the eight systems that qualified, one was the clear winner: the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education or VAL-ED. It also happens to be the newest of these systems (created in 2006). Perhaps the advent of more data and the development of newer data-driven technologies and methods have improved the prospects of principal evaluation. Analysts cited VAL-ED’s “360-degree approach” and twenty minute-seventy-two item format as strengths of the system, which also produces a quantitative assessment profile instead of the more common qualitative evaluation, and makes the important connection between teacher and principal ratings. This got it a high score in the validity category. But most notable was its nearly perfect score on the reliability metric, meaning test scores were stable and consistent for each individual who took the test. As the role of effective principals in forging and leading effective schools becomes clearer, principal evaluation matters more. For those who want to know more about the current state of these systems, this is a good place to start. Read it here.

More By Author