Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance
Expansion of the use of student test score data to measure teacher performance has fueled recent policy interest in using those data to measure the effects of school administrators as well. However, little research has considered the capacity of student performance data to uncover principal effects. Filling this gap, this article identifies multiple conceptual approaches for capturing the contributions of principals to student test score growth, develops empirical models to reflect these approaches, examines the properties of these models, and compares the results of the models empirically using data from a large urban school district. The paper then assesses the degree to which the estimates from each model are consistent with measures of principal performance that come from sources other than student test scores, such as school district evaluations. The results show that choice of model is substantively important for assessment. While some models identify principal effects as large as 0.15 standard deviations in math and 0.11 in reading, others find effects as low as 0.02 in both subjects for the same principals. We also find that the most conceptually unappealing models, which over-attribute school effects to principals, align more closely with non-test measures than do approaches that more convincingly separate the effect of the principal from the effects of other school inputs.
This research was supported by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (R305A100286). We would like to thank the leadership of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the help they have given us with both data collection and the interpretation of our findings. We are especially thankful to Gisela Field, who makes this work possible. We are also grateful to Mari Muraki for excellent data management. All errors are the responsibility of the authors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
J. A. Grissom & D. Kalogrides & S. Loeb, 2015. "Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, vol 37(1), pages 3-28.