Improving Instructional Leadership: A Multi-Case Study Perspectives on Formal Evaluations

Brenda Chacon-Robles, University of Texas at El Paso


In a time when public schools continue to be scrutinized, school leadership never mattered more in order to exercise school reform. This qualitative study examined how five principals working in an urban school district perceived their evaluation and how it contributed to their practice. I applied a descriptive case study approach. Evaluations can be intended to find “the best way” to do things overall, to discover a better way to do things in a particular situation, or to develop practitioners’ abilities to respond and adapt in different ways (Shaw, 2006). The instructional leadership piece provides insight to what it takes to be an effective principal based on practice. Most states follow a standards-based approach to define and describe the duties and best practices associated with the principalship. Accountability demands on principals have never been greater, especially as more rigorous federal and state accountability programs create intense interest among taxpayers and policymakers with regard to school-level performance. Principal evaluation is emerging as a national policy focus, although it has been largely overshadowed by controversial developments in teacher evaluation. The findings from this study revealed that overall principals have a positive perception about the evaluation tool. Principal’s attitudes and preconceived notions about evaluations contribute to the fact that regardless of the tool, evaluations continue to be seen as a compliance mechanism due to the polices and structures of K-12 organizations However, the findings show that principals believe the goal-setting and feedback components of the tool are of benefit to their practice. The findings from this study have implications for policy, school leadership, and future research. Policymakers must continue to include principals in the process and implementation of their evaluations in order for it to be relevant. Professional development in the area of school leadership needs to continue and aligned to their evaluation in order to promote growth. Additional research needs to be conducted on principal evaluations and the correlation to student outcomes. Furthermore, research also needs to be conducted on the principal’s supervisors and the influence they have on the principal.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Chacon-Robles, Brenda, "Improving Instructional Leadership: A Multi-Case Study Perspectives on Formal Evaluations" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10930625.