Evaluating principal effectiveness: A review of the literature




Burkett, Jerry

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Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education and Human Services at Lindenwood University


The evaluation of a campus principal can be a challenging process due largely to the complicated factors that exist to capture an accurate assessment of a principal’s leadership effectiveness. Generally, principal evaluations are conducted by district-level officials who often do not have the time or the resources to observe campus principals on a regular basis. Further, principal evaluation systems (PES) are designed to improve the practice of principals (Clifford & Ross, 2012; Davis, Kearney, Sanders, Thomas, & Leon, 2011; Fuller & Hollingworth, 2014a; Fuller et al., 2015), and there has historically been an acknowledgment that these evaluations do not always achieve this purpose. Therefore, the overarching purpose of an evaluation is to use defensible criteria to judge the worth or merit of a principal. Critical to this definition is “defensible criteria” as the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation’s (Gullickson & Howard, 2009) recommends that personnel evaluations should rely on defensible criteria to ensure such evaluations are “ethical, fair, useful, feasible, and accurate” (p. 1). The purpose of this literature review is to evaluate the proposed themes found in principal evaluation systems to help determine set criteria that is most used to measure principal effectiveness.


Article originally published by Journal of Educational Leadership in Action, 9(1). English. Published 2023. https://digitalcommons.lindenwood.edu/ela/vol9/iss1/2


Defensible evaluation criteria, Campus principal evaluations, Principal evaluation systems


This is the publisher’s version of an article that is available at https://digitalcommons.lindenwood.edu/ela/vol9/iss1/2. Recommended citation: Burkett, J. (2023). Evaluating principal effectiveness: A review of the literature. Journal of Educational Leadership in Action, 9(1). This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.