26 SES 09 A, Leadership Impact on Student Outcomes in Diverse Circumstances
Over the last two decades, the Chilean government has made substantial efforts to improve the quality and equity of education offered by the public system. During the 1990s, public policies were oriented towards improving school infrastructure, strengthening teacher’s professional development, increasing wages, and generating a national curriculum framework.
From the year 2000 onwards, Chile´s educational reform process has extended primary efforts on developing the conditions and capacities within educational communities necessary to support and generate continuous improvement. The role of public policy has been to develop this process. In parallel, a series of mechanisms of control based on national standards aimed at assuring educational quality in all schools have been installed.
For the Chilean Ministry of Education, one of the most effective forms of improving the quality of education of the schools is to challenge and support schools to take responsibility for the assessment and improvement of student performance (MINEDUC, 2005).
In practice, standards and norm-referenced controls are emphasized from the central level, specifically from the Ministry of Education. These controls are meant to influence the work in schools on both administrative as well as pedagogical levels.
Current national policies of education are foundationally concerned with a call for greater autonomy of the schools, and development of pedagogical leadership in the school principals (Núñez, Weinstein, & Muñoz, 2010). These policies seek to respect the ideals of quality and equity, in a context of continuous improvement that includes accountability for the results.
According to the international research the leadership (of the principal) is the second more important inner school factor to understand students learning achievement (Leithwood, Day, Sammons, Harris & Hopkins, 2006; Leithwood, Harris & Hopkins, 2008). In Chile, a recent research (Horn & Marfan, 2010) identify that the principal leadership is a key factor to explain how to change the school towards the improvement of the learning of the students.
The research of Leithwood, Harris & Hopkins (2008) shows that the improvement of the student´s learning, far from being an individual responsibility of the teachers, is an effort that must be taken as an organization, through the implementation of practices that support teacher´s work. Accordingly, Reardon (2011) claim that any effort which came from an organizational level will not take any effect in student achievement as long it not change the work inside the classroom. Thus, the relevance of the leadership practice and the principal action within the school became even more relevant to understand and support the student´s learning.
Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, and Anderson (2010), argues that the action of the transformational leadership within the school could be framed in three categories: 1) improving the capacities of the teachers; 2) increasing the motivation and commitment of the staff; 3) and developing the conditions of work of the teachers.
Despite all this, there is little evidence of what are the practice and action that the principals implement that explain the results of the schools. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to identify, analyze and compare the role of the principals in different schools with different results in the national standard test (SIMCE). We work under the assumption leadership is highly contextual (Clarke & Wildy, 2004), therefore we could find similarities and difference accordingly with the context of each school and the school performance.
Clarke, S., & Wildy, H. (2004). Context counts: Viewing small school leadership from the inside out. Journal of Educational Administration, 42(4). Denzin, N. (2001): The reflexive interview and a performative social science. Qualitative Research , 1(1), 23-46. Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (2011). Exploring the journey of school improvement: classifying and analyzing patterns of change in school improvement processes and learning outcomes. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 22(1), 1-27. doi: 09243453.2010.536322 Horn, A. & Marfan, J. (2010). Relación entre liderazgo educativo y desempeño escolar: Revisión de la investigación en chile. Psicoperspectivas , 9 (2), 82-104. Klar, H. W., & Brewer, C. A. (2013). Successful leadership in high-needs schools: An examination of core leadership practices enacted in challenging contexts. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(5), 768-808. MINEDUC. (2005b). Calidad en todas las escuelas y liceos: Sistema de aseguramiento de la calidad de la gestión escolar [Quality in all schools: System for Quality Assurance for School Management]. Chile: Ed. Serie Bicentenario. Núñez, I., Weinstein, J. & Muñoz, G. (2010) ¿Posición olvidada? Una mirada desde la normativa a la historia de la dirección escolar en chile. Psicoperspectivas, 9 (2), 53-81. Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2006). Successful School Leadership What It Is and How It Influences Pupil Learning (pp. 1-132). University of Nottingham: NCSL. Leithwood, K., Harris, A. & Hopkins, D. (2008). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership. School Leadership and Management, 28 (2), 27-42. Louis, K. S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K. L., & Anderson, S. E. (2010). Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning. New York: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota. Reardon, R. M. (2011). Elementary school principals' learning-centered leadership and educational outcomes: Implications for principals' professional development. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 10(1), 63-83. Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (1990). Grounded theory research: Procedures, canons, and evaluative criteria. Qualitative Sociology, 13(1), 3-21.
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