Effects of Leadership on Student Academic/Affective Achievement

Authored by: Stephen L. Jacobson , Christopher Bezzina

International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders

Print publication date:  July  2008
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415988476
eBook ISBN: 9780203872239
Adobe ISBN: 9781135277017


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The focus of this chapter is on leadership and the role of school leaders, particularly principals and head teachers, in influencing student outcomes. In the chapter, we review what we believe are some of the most important empirical studies that have examined direct and indirect school effects on student achievement over the past forty years, from the 1966 Coleman Report on Equality of Educational Opportunity, through the Effective Schools and School Improvement literatures of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and subsequent studies conducted through 2007. Much of the latter part of the chapter will review the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP), an ongoing examination of successful school leaders in Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden and the United States begun in 2001. Among other key sources, e.g., Day, Harris and Hadfield (2001) and Mulford, Silins and Leithwood (2004), the conceptual framework of the ISSPP drew upon the claim by Leithwood and Riehl (2005) that, regardless of context, when it comes to student achievement, successful school leadership requires the following core practices: (1) setting directions; (2) developing people; and, (3) redesigning the organization. The ISSPP examined the existence of these core practices across different national contexts, as well as similarities and differences in how these leadership practices were enacted to enable student performance to improve.

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