The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Effectiveness in California from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should meaningfully assess principal performance. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Objective Student Growth Measures: California does not require that student growth play a role in a principal's evaluation rating.
Link to Teacher Effectiveness/Instructional Leadership: California state policy does not explicitly link principal evaluations and teacher effectiveness/instructional leadership.
Improvement Plans: California does not require that principals rated less-than-effective be placed on improvement plans. Placement of those with an unsatisfactory rating in a "program designed to improve appropriate areas of performance" is optional.
Surveys: California state policy does not mention surveys for the purposes of principal evaluation.
Education Code 44664; 44670; 44671
Require objective measures of student growth to play a role in principal evaluation ratings.
There is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Therefore, California should require principal evaluations to include objective measures of student growth. This will allow districts to more accurately identify effective principals, who are more adept at attracting and retaining effective teachers.
Make an explicit link between principal evaluation and teacher effectiveness/instructional leadership.
Because the time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on both teachers and students, California should evaluate its principals—to some degree—on teacher effectiveness and instructional leadership.
Ensure that principals receiving less-than-effective ratings are placed on a professional improvement plan.
California should adopt a policy requiring principals who receive even one less-than-effective evaluation rating to be placed on structured improvement plans. These plans should identify noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies, and describe how and when progress will be measured.
Require or explicitly allow surveys.
California should require—or at the very least, explicitly allow—survey data to be included in a principal's evaluation rating. These data could be derived from school climate, teacher, student, or school community surveys, and are necessary to provide data about a principal's overall leadership of the school community.
California did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
7G: Principal Effectiveness
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.