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A Think Twice Review of:

Estimating the effect of leaders on public sector productivity: The case for school principals AND “School Leaders Matter”

Think Twice - Mar 05, 2013

Publisher/Think Tank - National Bureau of Economic Research Education Next

Author(s) -

This report attempted to estimate how much “high” and “low” effective principals affect student achievement. The study also explored patterns of change in the composition of schools’ teaching staffs, as well as the movement of principal talent across schools.

Reviewer(s) - Margaret Terry Orr, Bank Street College of Education

In the review by Terry Orr, Orr confirms “that principals have a positive, independent influence on achievement and that the size of this influence varies by school poverty rates.” On the other hand, Orr also found methodological flaws which raise questions about sample sizes and the validity of such analysis. Orr cautions that the report has limited utility to guide policy and practice. This is concerning, because multiple states have adopted policies that include similar estimates of principal effectiveness relative to changes in student test scores.