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Successful school leadership: what is it and who decides?

Arguments presented in this paper and the evidence from the Tasmanian Successful School Principals Project support broadening what counts for successful schools and school leadership. This broadening needs to embrace student outcomes, including non-cognitive social outcomes such as student empowerment. In examining who should provide the evidence for successful school leadership the need for triangulation, that is, multiple sources of evidence, became clear. Research employing only principal perceptions of success, especially on the importance of and improvement in student outcomes, should be examined much more critically than has occurred in the past.


This paper first argues the case for judging the success of school leadership on the basis of student outcomes. It further argues that there is a need to move to a broad understanding of student outcomes, that is, beyond the academic and cognitive to the non-cognitive, not withstanding a relationship between the two. To not do so short changes the excellence of our leaders, schools, communities and nation, and is not sensible, efficient nor defensible on equity or social justice grounds.

Next, the paper provides some examples of both cognitive and non-cognitive student outcome measures from the ongoing Tasmanian Successful School Principalship Project (SSPP) (which is linked to the International Successful School Principals Project--see, for example, Day & Leithwood, 2007; Thomas, 2005) together with some preliminary links to both leadership characteristics and school capacity building.

Finally, having established a position on, and provided examples of, what should decide successful school leadership, the paper turns its attention to the question of who should provide the evidence. The paper outlines results from the SSPP that examine the similarities and differences between teacher and principal perceptions of success, and between principals' perceptions of success and actual test results. Principals are found to overestimate the effectiveness of reforms, both when compared with their teachers and with actual literacy and numeracy results.

These arguments and results raise important issues for research and practice that relies solely on a limited set of processes or outcomes of schooling and only principals' perceptions of their schools' success.

What decides successful school leadership?

What criteria should be used in judging the success of a school leader? In answering this question, research (Earley, 1998) and practice (Vann, 2005) have tended to focus on the processes leaders put in place in their schools. Is there a school vision, and what is the quality of the vision? Is there a strategic plan to achieve the vision, a way of evaluating progress toward the vision, and so on? Recently, however, the focus has shifted with school leaders increasingly being held accountable for student outcomes (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2006).

A small but growing body of research has accumulated on the effects of leadership on student outcomes (see Bell, Bolam, & Cubillo, 2003; Leithwood, Day, Sammons, Harris, & Hopkins, 2006; Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005; Mulford, 2003a, b; Robinson, Lloyd, Hohepa, & Rowe, 2007; Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003).While this research concludes that particular types of school leadership have substantial impacts on student outcomes, the impact tends to be indirect and the actual outcome measure varies considerably--from standardised test achievement in mathematics and literacy and examination marks combined in a tertiary entrance score to engagement with and participation in school and self concept.

In practice, however, what is most easily measured seems to 'matter' most, whether this be through international testing, such as for the Program for International Student Assessment and Trends in International Maths and Science Study in mathematics, reading and science literacies; national and state testing or examination regimes; national incentive/disincentive programs such as No Child Left Behind in the United States of America that demand standardised testing in a limited number of areas; or local system and school reports. The result can be a narrowing of the curriculum, an increase in testing and teaching to the tests, and disadvantage for certain groups in our society (Jennings & Rentner, 2006). For example, Rothstein and Jacobsen (2006) document the recent political narrowing of curriculum and instruction to basic academic skills in the US, and the fact that this narrowing disproportionately affects minorities and the poor.

What is the situation in Australia? What do we value most as the outcomes of our schools? As good a place as any to start a response to such questions is the April 1999 state, territory and Commonwealth ministers of education Adelaide meeting of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). At that meeting, ministers endorsed a new set of national goals for schooling in the 21st century. The new goals were released in April 1999 as the Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-first Century (MCEETYA, 1999).

The preamble to these goals states that 'Australia's future depends upon each citizen having the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and values for a productive and rewarding life in an educated, just and open society. High quality schooling is central to achieving this vision.' Schooling is seen as providing 'a foundation for young Australians' intellectual, physical, social, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development.' By providing a supportive and nurturing environment, schooling is seen to contribute 'to the development of students' sense of self worth, enthusiasm for learning and optimism for the future' (MCEETYA, 1999).

The agreed goals for Australian schools go on to state that schooling should develop fully the talents and capacities of all students. In particular, when students leave school they should:

* have the capacity for, and skills in, analysis and problem solving and the ability to communicate ideas and information, to plan and organise activities and to collaborate with others;

* have qualities of self-confidence, optimism, high self-esteem, and a commitment to personal excellence as a basis for their potential fife roles as family, community and workforce members;

* have capacity to exercise judgement and responsibility in matters of morality, ethics and social justice ...;

* be active and informed citizens ...;

* have employment-related skills and an understanding of the work environment, career options and pathways as a foundation for, and positive attitudes towards, vocational education and training, further education, employment and lifelong learning;

* be confident, creative and productive users of new technologies ... and understand the impact of those technologies on society;

* have an understanding of, and concern for, stewardship of the natural environment, and the knowledge and skills to contribute to ecologically sustainable development;

* have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and for the creative and satisfying use of leisure time (MCEETYA, 1999)

A report on the future of schooling in Australia by the states and territories (Federalist Paper 2, 2007) reasserts the importance of the Adelaide Declaration goals, with a particular curriculum focus on:

* achieving a solid foundation in skills and knowledge on which further learning and adult life can be built,

* developing deep knowledge and skills that will enable advanced learning, and

* an ability to create new ideas and translate them into practical applications and developing general competencies that underpin flexible thinking, a capacity to work with others and an ability to move across subject disciplines to develop new expertise.

Included in the action plan of this report is a commitment to 'continue to work together to ... [explore] the possibility of a cycle of sample-based surveys of performance in areas not covered by the full cohort testing or international sample-based surveys in order to minimise any risk that the focus of assessment might limit the scope of curriculum in schools' (Federalist Paper 2, 2007, p. 31).

Another source of information that helps us with an answer to the question of what we value most as the outcomes of our schools is the research by Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Business Council of Australia. These organisations have sought to discover what employers look for in workers in order to meet their current and future skills needs. Their research involved a literature review, focus groups and individual interviews with a sample of 40 small and medium-sized enterprises and 13 detailed case studies in large enterprises resulted in the development of an Employability Skills Framework (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2002). This framework was assessed by another 150 enterprises and employer groups. The final framework incorporates 13 personal attributes and eight key skills that contribute to overall employability.

The 13 personal attributes are:

* loyalty

* commitment

* honesty and integrity

* enthusiasm

* reliability

* personal presentation

* commonsense

* positive self esteem

* sense of humour

* balanced attitude to work and home life

* ability to deal with pressure

* motivation

* adaptability

The eight key skills are:

* communication

* team work

* problem solving

* initiative and enterprise

* planning and organising

* self management

* learning

* technology

Each of the eight key skills contains a number of elements, for example, the elements for communication include listening, speaking, writing, reading, numeracy, sharing, and negotiating.

One might assume that in an increasingly service-oriented economy the emphasis on personal and social skills will become ever more important in determining success. For example, in a federal election year, ACCI (2007) has strongly backed the push for higher spending on education and training. Its report, Skills for a Nation: A Blueprint for Improving Education and Training 2007-2017, included the results of a survey undertaken with 1,337 businesses to argue that a mismatch exists between what employers want and what they are getting from the education system. ACCI (2007, p. 18) contends that 'Australia's education and training systems must provide people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to participate fully in Australian society--culturally, socially and in their employment.' The report goes on to argue that 'all Australians must be able to: benefit from a sound education platform which provides basic literacy and numeracy skills; pursue future education and training opportunities which enhance workplace skills; and, develop a positive attitude to the concept of lifelong learning.'

In Tasmania, and from surveys of 5,150 Year 8 and 10 students from all three school sectors, Hogan and Donovan (2005) found significant relationships between students' subjective agency (based on student capacities of locus of control, voice, persistence, self efficacy, self confidence, and coping) and academic outcomes (based on student grades in all subjects at the end of Years 8 and 11), as well as a range of social capital outcomes, such as sociability, trust in others, collaboration, being a good student, and participation in community groups. Consistent with the argument being developed in this paper, Hogan and Donovan (2005, p. 100) argue that not to measure such broader outcomes of schooling 'underestimates the net contribution that schools make to individual wellbeing and aggregate social utility and permits a highly stratified and limited measure of school performance, academic achievement, to monopolise the "allocation" of students into social division of labour'. They conclude that this situation is not sensible, efficient nor defensible on social justice grounds.

Valuable longitudinal research from the United Kingdom (for example, Carneiro, Crawford, & Goodman, 2006) has taken these results further by showing that attitudes and skills formed relatively early in fife have long lasting and substantial effects on later life chances, for example socially maladjusted seven- and eleven-year-old children were subsequently found to be less likely to stay on at school, to do less well in higher education, to be more likely to get into trouble with the police, and to have lower employment probabilities and wages.

Before leaving the case for judging the success of school leadership on the basis of a broader understanding of student outcomes, that is, beyond the academic and cognitive to the non-cognitive, it needs to be understood that there is a relationship between the two areas. The Leadership for Organisational Learning and Student Outcomes (LOLSO) research provides an example of this link. LOLSO was designed employing four phases of data collection and analysis conducted over four years (for full details see Mulford, Silins & Leithwood, 2004; Silins & Mulford, 2002a, b, 2007). It allowed for iterative cycles of theory development and testing, using multiple forms of evidence. Included in this design were surveys of 3,500 Year 10 students and 2,500 of their teachers and principals from half the secondary schools in South Australia and all the secondary schools in Tasmania (a total of 96 Australian schools). Among other findings, LOLSO identified a direct and positive relationship between student participation in school (absenteeism, involvement in class work, own goal setting, and involvement in extracurricular activities) and academic results (tertiary entrance score), an indirect relationship, through retention, between engagement in school (student-teacher and peer relationships and utility and identification with school) and academic results, but no relationship between self concept (understanding of material, confidence in success and belief of learning a lot) and academic results.

The Successful School Principal Project

Examples of both cognitive and non-cognitive student outcome measures and some preliminary links to both leadership characteristics and school capacity building can be provided from the ongoing Successful School Principalship Project (SSPP).

The SSPP and its sample

As part of SSPP research, in late 2005 and early 2006 surveys on successful school principalship were distributed to all 195 government schools (excluding colleges and special schools) in Tasmania. A total of 131 survey responses were received from secondary, composite and primary school principals. This represents a return rate of 67%. A total of 494 teachers in secondary, composite and primary schools also responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 12% of teachers and 60% of schools. Surveys sought responses from principals, and in most cases teachers, in areas such as demographic characteristics, leadership characteristics, values and beliefs, tensions and dilemmas, learning and development, school capacity building, decision making, evaluation and accountability, and perceptions of school success.

There was a similar distribution between this sample and the population by school sector, except for a slight over-representation of primary and under-representation of secondary teachers in the sample. The normal distribution of Economic Needs Index (ENI) on which the population is established was matched in the sample for both primary and secondary schools. The age distribution of the sample and population of teachers was similar, including when compared by level of school and gender. The mean age of teachers was 43.7 (primary 44.3 and secondary 42.4) which was similar to the national figure of 45.0 (Anderson & Kleinhenz, 2007). Of note was the large proportion of female primary school teachers (46.3%) who were in the age range 45 to 54 years. Another 13.3% of this group were aged 55 or over. The teacher cohort that is currently in their early 40s, from whom the next generation of principals will be chosen, was very small. This cohort represents 17% of all teachers and is similar to the 14% figure for Victoria (Anderson & Kleinhenz, 2007).

School success measures

Tasmanian school success measures were derived both from principal and teacher perceptions of success and actual student results. Previous research has shown it is important to gather data on school operations and results from sources other than school principals, who tend to overestimate the effectiveness of reforms when compared with their teachers (Logan, Sachs & Dempster, 1996; McCall et al., 2001; Mulford & Hogan, 1999). For example, a national survey of more than 900 teachers and 1,000 principals (Logan, Sachs & Dempster, 1996) found that there were divergent views on the degree of participative decision making in Australian primary schools. Less teachers (67%) than principals (79%) claimed that decisions about teaching resulted from discussions between teachers, parents and administrators. A syste-matic evaluation of the transformation of school governance in Tasmania (Mulford & Hogan, 1999) involving 833 teachers and 122 principals also found that teachers did not see themselves involved in the schools' operation to the same extent as principals. Compared with principals, teachers did not perceive as high a level of collaboration and cooperation (77% and 99% respectively), improved decision making (57% and 83% respectively), or more effective learning communities (16% and 33% respectively).

Acting on the position taken in the first part of this paper in respect of the need to move to a broader understanding of student outcomes in judging successful school leadership, that is beyond the academic and cognitive to the noncognitive, the Successful School Principal Project developed a measure of social success. The Social Success Index (SSI) was constructed comprising items from the social goals and perceptions of success sections of the survey. A factor analysis of these items found that they grouped as one factor which accounted for 50% of the variance (Table 1).

In addition to the SSI, analysis was conducted of actual Tasmanian student test results, which were made available by the Tasmanian Department of Education. School median scores were calculated for each year level (Years 3 and 5 for primary and Years 7 and 9 for secondary) for each of literacy and numeracy. Finally, an average of these medians was determined.

A strong relationship was found between the socioeconomic status of the school and the various success measures. For example, the Pearson Correlation Coefficient between the literacy/numeracy test scores and Economic Needs Index (ENI) was -0.56 and between SSI and ENI -0.37, both statistically significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). As Figure 1 illustrates, this relationship was particularly visible for the highest needs schools (that is ENI 8 to 11 on the far right of each set of success items).


Tasmanian schools are classified according to an economic needs index (ENI) ranging from 1 (low needs) to in excess of 100 (high needs). The index for each school is derived using socioeconomic data from the Australian census, size of centre (town, locality), distance from the Department of Education district administration office and the number of students receiving government financial student assistance. The ENI impacts on the numbers of teachers and the level of funding received by schools. Schools with higher needs receive additional staff and finance to enable them to make better provision for students requiring additional learning support. Most of the high needs schools in Tasmania are located in suburban, government-funded, broad-acre welfare housing areas and in more isolated communities.

Links between success measures, leadership characteristics and school capacity

Factor analytic procedures using the principals' responses to the SSPP survey found five factors (the five Ps) comprised leadership characteristics, and that they accounted for 51.93% of the variance. These factors were being professional, principled, promotional, persistent, and a planner. A similar analysis with the school capacity items found four factors (TESSelated--resembling a mosaic) accounting for 61.43% of the variance. These factors were trust and respect, empowerment, shared and monitored vision, and supported experimentation.

Figures 2 to 5 map the relationships between both the ENI adjusted social success (for all schools in the sample) and adjusted literacy/numeracy (for secondary schools only) and the leadership characteristics and school capacity factors. Adjusted scores were based on the number of points a school scored above or below the regression lines. Schools were given an adjusted 'low' score if in the bottom 17%, 'middle' if in the middle 66% and 'high' if in the top 17%. The only statistically significant difference between the high and low adjusted Social Success Index on the leadership factors is on the persistence factor. Persistence involves not only being persistent but also courageous, determined, passionate, and optimistic. Statistically significant differences were found between the high and low adjusted Social Success Index on all four of the school capacity factors. School capacity was also found to be more discriminating on the ENI adjusted literacy/numeracy success measure. There is support in these results for the position that successful school leadership is indirectly related (in this case through school capacity) to student outcomes, especially in the social arena. There is also the suggestion (Figures 3 and 5) that the four school capacity factors are developmental starting with trust and respect and ending with supported experimentation.





Statistically significant differences were also found between the lowest and highest scoring schools on the actual literacy/numeracy success measure and specific items in the principal perceptions of success measures (Table 2).What is of particular interest here is the emphasis on the social outcome of student empowerment. For example:

* the highest scoring primary and secondary schools are more likely to have principals who perceived improvement in students who are in a safe environment;

* the highest scoring primary schools are more likely to have principals who perceived students to be empowered and able to solve conflicts through negotiation; and

* the highest scoring secondary schools are more likely to have principals who perceived students to be have developed self confidence and dare to try new things and show satisfaction in overcoming difficulties.

Who decides successful school leadership?

Who should provide the evidence on successful school leadership? Results from the SSPP research project allow us to examine the similarities and differences between teacher and principal perceptions of success and between principal perceptions of success and actual literacy/numeracy test results.

Teachers and principals

As detailed in Table 3, both principals and teachers rated all areas of 'school success' and 'social goals' as highly important (means between 4.02 and 4.88 on the five point scale, with 5 representing highest importance). Principals attributed slightly higher importance than teachers for literacy and numeracy success (average difference of 0.12) but not for social success.

On the other hand, both principals and teachers rated the degree to which each area had actually been achieved consistently and statistically significantly lower than its importance (that is, means between 3.24 and 3.89, or an average difference of close to 1.00). Overall, there were few statistically significant differences between the two groups, except for items related to students being perceived as high achievers, self directed, and responsible and democratic citizens, where principals scored higher. There were similar mean scores (3.32 to 3.87) in respect of perceived improvements in literacy and numeracy success, but principals again consistently and statistically significantly believed there had been a higher level of improvement than teachers (average difference of 0.15).

Principal perceptions of success and actual success

Primary and secondary school principals' perception of their schools' achievement in literacy and numeracy were collapsed into three categories of low (a score of 1 or 2 on the five-point scale), medium (a score of 3) and high (a score of 4 or 5). The results were cross-tabulated with actual school literacy and numeracy scores collapsed into the same three named categories, with roughly equal number of schools in each category.

It was expected that principals' perceptions of success would match actual success, that is those principals perceiving their literacy and numeracy scores to be low would also be low in actual scores, medium would be medium and high would be high (the diagonals in Table 4). This expectation was only partly met with congruence improving with actual success. For 16% of primary and 10% of secondary schools, whose scores were actual low, these schools were perceived as low by their principals. The figures for medium/medium were 34% and 45% and for high/high 86% and 63%. There was a strong tendency for low and medium actual success schools to have principals who overestimated their success (74% for primary and 71% for secondary), in some cases by two levels (16% for primary and 30% for secondary).Very similar results were found on another item that asked principals to rate 'Student test/examination results taking into account student background'.

Comparisons between the two groups of principals (those who 'matched' perceptions with actual success and those who 'mismatched') on the leadership characteristics (Figure 6) and school capacity (Figure 7) indicate that the 'matched' score higher than the 'mismatched' principals, especially on the leadership characteristics of being principled, promotional,

persistent, and a planner (although nearly all scores were in the range 4.5 to 5.0 on the five-point scale) and on the school capacities of a shared and monitored vision and supported experimentation (Figure 7). Item analysis (Table 5) found 'matched' principals when compared with 'mismatched' principals were significantly more likely to perceive themselves as genuine, have high expectations, communicate and give feedback to staff and parents, and have student empowerment. No differences were found between 'matched' and 'mismatched' principals on location, size, level and type of school or age, experience as a principal, gender and educational background.



Summary and discussion

This paper has argued the case for judging the success of school leadership on the basis of a wide range of student outcomes, including both the cognitive and noncognitive. Even though there is a link between the two types of outcomes, a particular emphasis of the paper has been student social knowledge, attitudes and skills, such as agency, adjustment, engagement, relationships, and participation in school, work and the community. In recent times such social skills have become many times more important in determining students' relative fife chances.

Consistent with the Adelaide Declaration on the agreed goals for Australian schools and the more recent complimentary positions of all states and territories in their Federalist Paper 2 (2007) as well as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SSPP research reported in this paper outlined examples of both cognitive (literacy and numeracy) and non-cognitive (social) student outcomes measures. These examples were based both on teacher and principal perceptions and, in the case of literacy and numeracy, actual test results. Measures were also developed that took into account school socioeconomic status (through the use of an Economic Needs Index).

It was found that the distribution of scores on social success was much broader than for literacy and numeracy, even within each ENI category. This finding may suggest non-cognitive are more malleable than the cognitive student outcomes, especially for the more disadvantaged students. Not only does this suggest that schools and their leaders can have the most effect in the non-cognitive area but also that such an emphasis might help moderate the negative effects of socioeconomic status.

Success measures were found to be only weakly related to principal characteristics (except to persistence) but strongly related to school capacity. Statistically significant differences were found, for example, between the lowest and highest scoring schools on actual literacy/numeracy success and specific items to do with student empowerment. Clearly, we need to move beyond narrowly prescribed models of leadership. In particular, we need to move on from the current rash of cure-all, one-type, adjectival leaderships (authentic, parallel, strategic, democratic, instructional, teacher, transformational, sustaining, and so on). If we are to fully understand and take action on successful school leadership, we need to move not only to multiple forms of leadership but also to a more complex set of relationships between these leaderships and a range of other variables.

Our findings support the position from previous research that the principal's influence on student outcomes is indirect, that is through school capacities such as trust and respect, empowerment (of students and teachers), a shared and monitored vision, and supported experimentation. It turns out that the earlier research and practice focus on the processes leaders put in place in their schools was, in fact, on the right track. The difference now is that we understand better the links between these processes and a range of student outcomes. Further, there is a suggestion in our results that these school capacities are developmental, starting with trust and respect and ending with supported experimentation. This last finding is consistent with previous school research in both Australia on organisational learning (Mulford 2003a, b) and UK on professional learning communities (Stoll et al., 2006), and provides a start point for those planning sequenced professional learning programs that aims to develop successful school leadership.

Teacher and principal perceptions of the importance of, and achievement and improvement in, the literacy and numeracy success measures indicated similarities between the two groups on achievement but differences on importance and improvement, with principals being more positive than teachers. Teacher and principal perceptions on the importance of, and achievement in, the social success measure indicated similarities between the two roles. The level of achievement was perceived by both teachers and principal, for both literacy and numeracy and social success, to be well below importance. These results confirm previous research on the more optimistic perceptions of principals when compared with teachers, but adds to that research by demonstrating that the principals' greater optimism is related to the importance of, and improvement in, cognitive success measures, such as literacy and numeracy test results, but not non-cognitive success measures such as social outcomes. It also adds to previous research by indicating that there is little difference between teachers and principals' perceptions of actual achievement on cognitive or non-cognitive success measures.

When principals' perceptions of their schools' literacy and numeracy success, even taking into account student background, were compared with actual literacy and numeracy test results, it was found that many principals overestimate their actual success. Preliminary comparisons between principals whose perceptions of success matched or did not match their schools' actual results indicates that the matched principals scored statistically significantly higher on the leadership characteristic factors of being principled, promotional, persistent and a planner, the school capacity factors as follows: a shared and monitored vision and supported experimentation and individual items related to being genuine, having high expectations, communicating and giving feedback to staff and parents, and having student who are empowered. While not all the 'matched' principals were in schools with high actual student results it might be presumed that successful school leadership can only be built on an honest and realistic assessment by the leader of his or her own and the school's current performance.

To conclude, the arguments presented and the evidence from ongoing Tasmanian research on successful school principalship support both broadening what counts for successful schools and successful school leadership (at least as it relates to the principal). This broadening needs to embrace the social, including areas such as student empowerment. Given, however, our propensity to give greater value to what we believe can be easily measured, this broadening of what counts will pose great challenges. These challenges are particularly acute for professional educators, including successful school leaders. As Goodlad (2006, pp. 1-2), for example, has pointed out: 'Academic test scores do not correlate with any of the virtues to which our democracy aspires ... Good education provides a sense of community, personal identity, inner strength, purpose, meaning, and belonging.' He also adds 'Unfortunately, developing the attributes of becoming fully human is not easily measured.'

In examining who should provide the evidence for successful school leadership, the need for triangulation, that is, using multiple sources of evidence, becomes clear. Research that employs only principal perceptions of success, especially on the importance of and improvement in success measures, should be examined much more critically than has occurred in the past.




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Bill Mulford

Diana Kendall

Bill Edmunds

Lawrie Kendall

John Ewington

Halia Silins

University of Tasmania

Professor Bill Mulford is Director of the Leadership for Learning Research Group in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania. He is co-author of Educational leadership for organisational learning and improved student outcomes (Kluwer, 2004) and author of The leadership challenge: Improving learning in schools (Australian Education Review, ACER, 2008).

Table 1 Social Success Index (SSI)

Item: Students: Component

L7B dare to try new things 0.811
L4B are able to solve conflicts through negotiation 0.792
L8B have developed self-confidence 0.792
L6B have increased self-knowledge 0.788
L10B are responsible for decisions concerning learning
 and future choices 0.768
L11B have a critical approach 0.731
L2B are able and want to have an influence 0.711
L9B can work by themselves and as a group 0.698
L3B are able to listen to others and want to have an
 influence 0.674
L5B do not accept discrimination 0.669
L1B have adapted to democratic values 0.667
L12B use many different ways of expressing themselves 0.645
G8B are responsible and democratic 0.624
G5B are effective communicators 0.608
L13B understand that bullying is totally unacceptable 0.582

Table 2 Some comparisons of highest and lowest performing schools
on literacy/numeracy

Item Lowest: Highest t-test
 Mean Mean signif-
 Score Score icance
 (1-5) (1-5) level
G6B Students are empowered 3.63 4.29 0.03
G9C Improvement in students who 3.38 4.00 0.03
 are in a safe environment
L4B Students able to solve 3.00 4.00 0.00
 conflicts through negotiation
G9C Improvement in students who 2.83 4.25 0.03
 are in a safe environment
L8B Students have developed 3.33 4.50 0.04
L7B Students dare to try new
 things and show satisfaction 2.67 4.25 0.02
 in overcoming difficulties

Table 3 Comparisons of principal and teacher perceptions of
student success

Area Importance Achievement

 P T P T
Perceptions of success
1. Literate 4.88 4.79 3.66 3.66
2. Numerate 4.83 4.69 3.65 3.63
3. Technologically competent 4.43 4.34 3.73 3.70
4. High achievers in their work 4.52 4.35 3.56 3.43 *
5. Effective communicators 4.65 4.52 3.54 3.53
6. Self directed 4.52 4.44 3.44 3.30 *
7. Inquiring and reflective
 thinkers 4.67 4.54 3.31 3.35
8. Responsible and democratic
 citizens 4.73 4.57 3.63 3.47 *
9. In a safe environment 4.81 4.71 3.90 3.87
Total 4.67 4.55 * 3.60 3.55

Area Improvement

 P T
Perceptions of success
1. Literate 3.53 3.49
2. Numerate 3.52 3.40
3. Technologically competent 3.82 3.70
4. High achievers in their work 3.48 3.23
5. Effective communicators 3.44 3.32
6. Self directed 3.46 3.24
7. Inquiring and reflective
 thinkers 3.54 3.54
8. Responsible and democratic
 citizens 3.63 3.36
9. In a safe environment 3.76 3.56
Total 3.58 3.43 *

 Importance Practice
Social goals
1. Show different ways they have
 adapted to democratic values 4.24 4.15 3.47 3.51
2. Understand importance of being
 able and want to have an
 influence 4.02 4.07 3.24 3.47
3. Understand importance of being
 able to listen and express
 themselves 4.53 4.55 3.70 3.80
4. Able to solve conflicts through
 negotiations 4.49 4.50 3.50 3.39
5. Not accept discrimination 4.61 4.58 3.64 3.61
6. Increased self-knowledge 4.50 4.41 3.74 3.70
7. Dare to try new things and
 overcome difficulties 4.56 4.44 3.63 3.55
8. Self confidence 4.66 4.57 3.87 3.89
9. Work by self and as a group 4.70 4.67 3.85 3.86
10. Responsible for decisions on
 learning and future choices 4.43 4.35 3.50 3.55
11. Critical approach that 4.42 4.23 3.39 3.38
 promotes discussion
12. Use many different ways
 of expressing themselves 4.47 4.41 3.66 3.75
13. Understand bullying others 4.81 4.79 3.82 3.71
 is unacceptable
Total 4.50 4.44 3.62 3.63

* Statistically significant 0.05 (t-tests - 2-tailed)

Table 4 Principal perceptions of literacy/numeracy success
and actual success


Actual Principal Perception

 Low Medium High

Low 6(16)% 25(68) 6(16)
Medium 0(0) 14(34) 27(66)
High 1(3) 4(11) 32(86)


Actual Principal Perception

 Low Medium High

Low 1(10%) 6(60) 3(30)
Medium 0(0) 5(45) 6(55)
High 0(0) 3(38) 5(63)

Table 5 Significant item differences between matched and mismatched

 Matched Mismatched t-test
Item (Mean) (Mean) (2-tailed)

E38A Genuine 4.96 3.79 0.02
E29A Core values articulated and
 communicated--importance 4.77 4.55 0.05
E29B Core values articulated and
 communicated--practice 4.33 3.88 0.00
E12A High expectations--practice 4.50 4.21 0.02
E12B High expectations--principal
 contributes 4.46 4.18 0.05
L2A Students able and want to
 have an influence--importance 4.15 3.87 0.03
H11B Feedback given to staff
 principal contributes 3.98 3.66 0.05
H11C Feedback given to
 staff--improvement 3.52 3.24 0.09
H24B Shares information with
 parents--importance 4.58 4.28 0.03
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Author:Mulford, Bill; Kendall, Diana; Edmunds, Bill; Kendall, Lawrie; Ewington, John; Silins, Halia
Publication:Australian Journal of Education
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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