Principal Effectiveness: Iowa

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state should meaningfully assess principal performance. This goal was new in 2017.

Meets a small part

Analysis of Iowa's policies

Objective Student Growth Measures: Iowa does not require that student growth play a role in a principal's evaluation rating.
 
Link to Teacher Effectiveness/Instructional Leadership: Iowa state policy does not explicitly link principal evaluations and teacher effectiveness/instructional leadership.

Improvement Plans: Iowa requires all administrators to develop a professional development plan.

Surveys: Iowa state policy does not mention surveys for the purposes of principal evaluation.

Citation

Recommendations for Iowa

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, Iowa 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, Iowa should evaluate its principals—to some degree—on teacher effectiveness and instructional leadership.

Require or explicitly allow surveys.
Iowa 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.

State response to our analysis

Iowa recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

7G: Principal Effectiveness

  • Student Growth: The state should require objective measures of student growth to be used in part to determine principal effectiveness.
  • Evaluation and Instructional Leadership: The state should require principal evaluations to contain an explicit link to teacher effectiveness or instructional leadership.
  • Improvement Plans: The state should require that all principals who are rated as less than effective be placed on improvement plans.
  • Surveys: The state should require or explicitly allow surveys (e.g., school climate, teacher, student, school community) to be used in part to determine principal effectiveness.
Student Growth
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following: 

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires objective measures of student growth to be used in part to determine principal effectiveness.
Evaluation and Instructional Leadership
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following: 

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if principal evaluations contain an explicit link to teacher effectiveness or instructional leadership.
Improvement Plans
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires principals who have been rated as ineffective to be placed on improvement plans.
Surveys
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following: 

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires or explicitly allows surveys (e.g., school climate, teacher, student, school community) to be used in part to determine principal effectiveness.

Research rationale

Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes.[1] Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures.[2] 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.[3] Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment;[4] effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers.[5] The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students.[6] 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.


[1] Clifford, M., Hansen, U. J., & Wraight, S. (2014). Practical guide to designing comprehensive principal evaluation systems: A tool to assist in the development of principal evaluation systems. Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.; Rice, J. K. (2010). Principal effectiveness and leadership in an era of accountability (Brief 8). National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.; Glasman, N. S., & Heck, R. H. (1992). The changing leadership role of the principal: Implications for principal assessment. Peabody Journal of Education, 68(1), 5-24.
[2] Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (1998). Exploring the principal's contribution to school effectiveness: 1980-1995. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 9(2), 157-191.
[3] Branch, G. F., Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2012). Estimating the effect of leaders on public sector productivity: The case of school principals (No. w17803). National Bureau of Economic Research.; Louis, K. S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K. L. Anderson, S. E., Michlin, M., & Mascall, B. (2010). Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning. Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement/University of Minnesota and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, 42, 50.; Clark, D., Martorell, P., & Rockoff, J. (2009). School principals and school performance (No. w17803). National Bureau of Economic Research.; Leithwood, K., Louis, K. S., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning: A review of research for the Learning from Leadership Project. New York: The Wallace Foundation.
[4] Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Ing, M., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2011). The influence of school administrators on teacher retention decisions. American Education Research Journal, 48(2), 303-333; Kimball, S. (2011). Strategic talent management for principals. In Strategic management of human capital in education: Improving instructional practice and student learning in schools (pp. 133-152). New York, NY: Routledge Publishing; Rice, J. K. (2010). Principal effectiveness and leadership in an era of accountability (Brief 8). National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.; Clark, D., Martorell, P., & Rockoff, J. (2009). School principals and school performance (No. w17803). National Bureau of Economic Research. 
[5] Beteille, T., Kalogrides, D., Loeb, S. (2009). Effective schools: Managing the recruitment, development, and retention of high-quality teachers (Working Paper 37). National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
[6] Grissom, J. A., & Loeb, S. (2011). Triangulating principal effectiveness: How perspectives of parents, teachers, and assistant principals identify the central importance of managerial skills. American Educational Research Journal, 48(5), 1091-1123.; Horng, E. L., Klasik, D., & Loeb, S. (2010). Principal's time use and school effectiveness. American Journal of Education, 116(4), 491-523.; Catano, N., & Stronge, J. H. (2007). What do we expect of school principals? Congruence between principal evaluation and performance standards. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 10(4), 379-399.