Panel Paper: Evaluation of Support for Principals: Effects of Intensive Professional Development and Coaching for Elementary School Principals

Friday, November 8, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 15 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mariesa Herrmann, Melissa Clark, Christina Tuttle, Susanne James-Burdumy, Tim Kautz, Virginia Knechtel, Dallas Dotter and Claire Smither Wulsin, Mathematica

Principals play an important role in the success of their schools. However, evidence on the best ways to improve their performance is limited. To learn more about how best to support effective principals, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences sponsored a random assignment study of an intensive professional development program for elementary school principals. The program provided 188 hours of professional development over two years, including 100 hours of individualized coaching. It covered leadership practices promoted by research and focused on helping principals conduct structured observations of teachers’ classroom instruction and provide targeted feedback. The study included 100 schools from eight districts across the country.

This presentation is based on the report from the U.S. Department of Education’s evaluation of this intensive professional development program, and focuses on the following three research questions:

  1. How was the study’s professional development implemented? How did it compare with the other professional development that districts offered to principals?
  2. How did the study’s professional development affect principal practice?
  3. How did the study’s professional development for principals affect student achievement, principal and teacher retention, and other school outcomes?

This presentation will focus on the impacts of the professional development on student achievement, principal and teacher retention, school climate, and principal practices (such as frequency and perceived quality of observations and feedback to teachers) after two years of implementation. We will also present findings on the implementation of the professional development, such as the amount and content of professional development that principals received.

Findings will be available to share at APPAM after the Institute of Education Sciences releases the report (anticipated in August 2019).

Full Paper: