26 SES 06 A, Evaluation of School Leaders: European perspectives
This symposium is the result of an EU-funded Erasmus+ project on School Leader Evaluation which was implemented between September 2015 and July 2017. The project’s name is “Evaluation of School Leaders and Teaching Practice” and it is better known through its acronym: the EOSLATP project. The partners of this project were inspectorate agencies from Portugal, Prahova Region (Romania), Kaunas Region (Lithuania), Bolzano (Italy), with the Basque Country (Spain) as coordinator of the project. In addition, two universities took part in the process as trainers, scientific support and evaluators: the University of Cumbria (UK) and the Open University of Cyprus (Cyprus). The project sought to examine the development of successful and effective school leadership evaluation processes, criteria and instruments based on various theoretical frameworks, drawing primarily from the different regions in Europe, which were represented in the project, as listed above.
We know from the literature that the role of the principal as a school leader has become quite complex and demanding. This is the result of: a) external, societal, demographic, and economic changes, b) the growing accountability movement, and c) pressures for raising school performance. We also know that school leaders exert a great influence on the teams led by them, especially on the pedagogical philosophy of the school. Actually, it has been claimed that school leaders are second only to teachers as a crucial factor for successful and effective schools. Therefore, it is important that we evaluate what these leaders do in the life of the schools they lead.
However, we should be aware of the fact that when discussing the evaluation of principals there is always a strong emphasis on what is objective, measurable, and practically controllable to the extent possible. Even within this (inevitably) reduced frame of reference there are many different perspectives and we acknowledge the fact that even the most “objective” data can (and will) be subjectively interpreted. Moreover, the purposes and practices of the evaluation of principals are likely to be viewed differently by national policy makers, school governors and managers, teachers, students, the parents of students and, of course, researchers, although there is likely to be a common core of interest in educational outcomes that is relevant for all.
Moreover, we should bear in mind that the nature of school leaders’ role is highly contextual and thus standard procedures could not reliably work in all situations. In order to be able to respond to the contemporary demands of school leader evaluation it is important to address the following sets of questions, which will form the basis for this symposium:
I. Why should school principals be evaluated?
II. How are school principals (best) evaluated?
III. What should we know and what should we do, depending on which stage of their careers principals are?
IV. What do the countries represented in this symposium do with regards to school leaders’ evaluation in their particular countries/regions?
Based on the above, it can be concluded that the symposium assumes a holistic perspective in order to provide a more inclusive view of successful evaluation of school principals, utilizing concrete examples of everyday practices in order to illustrate in a rather applied way (but from a data-based evidence point of view), how successful evaluation of school leaders is operationalized in various regions of Europe.
Brauckmann, S. and Pashiardis, P. (2016) Practicing Successful and Effective School Leadership: European Perspectives in Pashiardis, P. and Johansson, O. (Eds.) Successful School Leadership: International Perspectives (pp. 179-192) London: Bloomsbury. Cranston, N., 2013. School leaders leading: Professional responsibility not accountability as the key focus. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 41(2), pp.129-142. Hattie, J. (2003) Teachers Make a Difference, What is the research evidence? Interpretations 36 (2) pp.27-38 http://research.acer.edu.au/research_conference_2003/4/ Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A. and Hopkins, D. (2006) Successful school leadership: What it is and how it influences pupil learning London, UK: DfES https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238717790_Successful_School_Leadership_What_It_Is_and_ How_It_Influences_Pupil_Learning Lingard, B., 2013. The impact of research on education policy in an era of evidence-based policy. Critical Studies in Education, 54(2), pp113-131 Pashiardis, P. and Brauckmann, S. (2008). Evaluation of School Principals. In G. Crow, J. Lumby, & P. Pashiardis (Eds.) International handbook on the preparation and development of school leaders (pp. 263-279). New York: Routledge. Pashiardis, P. and Brauckmann, S. (2014). Leadership Styles and School Climate Variables of the Pashiardis-Brauckmann Holistic Leadership Framework: An Intimate Relationship? In Pashiardis, P. (Ed.), Modeling School Leadership Across Europe: In Search of New Frontiers (pp. 89-106). Dordrecht, Heidelberg, New York, London: Springer. Schleicher, A., 2012. Preparing teachers and developing school leaders for the 21st century: Lessons from around the world. OECD Publishing. Paris, France.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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