Good principals are very, very good for teachers and students, concludes a study in Education Next. “For student outcomes, greater attention to the selection and retention of high-quality principals would have a very high payoff,” write Gregory F. Branch, Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin.
. . . highly effective principals raise the achievement of a typical student in their schools by between two and seven months of learning in a single school year; ineffective principals lower achievement by the same amount. These impacts are somewhat smaller than those associated with having a highly effective teacher. But teachers have a direct impact on only those students in their classroom; differences in principal quality affect all students in a given school.
Less-effective teachers are more likely to leave schools run by highly effective principals, the study found. “Good principals are likely to make more personnel changes in grade levels where students are under-performing.”
Unsuccessful principals aren’t weeded out, especially those teaching in high-poverty schools. Those who leave go to other schools.
The value-added analysis looked at “the extent to which math achievement in a school is higher or lower than would be expected based on the characteristics of students in that school, including their achievement in the prior year.”