Home Books Can principals raise test scores? – School leadership 2.0

Can principals raise test scores? – School leadership 2.0


An effective leader? A shrewd politician? A heroic leader? The CEO of the school? Reformers yearn for principals who can not only fulfill these roles but also raise test scores, and do it quickly. Many principals in different areas can earn thousands of dollars bonuses to improve student performance. But being a principal requires much more than raising test scores. Principals are expected to maintain order, to be shrewd managers who squeeze a dollar out of every penny spent on the school, and shrewd politicians who can steer parents, teachers and students in the same direction year after year. They are also expected to ensure that district curriculum standards are being taught, and to lead instructional improvements that lead to higher test scores. I cannot forget that the principals found themselves in the middle between the heads of their district offices and the teachers, parents and students of each of their schools. So, being a director is not an easy task. How one A New York high school principal said, “You’re a teacher, you’re Judge Judy, you’re a mother, you’re a father, you’re a pastor, you’re a therapist, you’re a nurse, you’re a social worker.” She sighed and continued, “You’re the curriculum planner, you’re the data collector, you’re the budget planner, you’re spreading the vision.” Still, at the end of the fourth decade of the school reform movement that began in the early 1980s, the pressure on principals remains and the lure of rewarding higher test scores and graduation rates, today’s measure of instructional leadership (e.g., promotion to district department, chief) are kept.

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