Term Paper: Education Administration in the Book, School Leadership

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Education Administration

In the book, School Leadership that Works, Marzano, Waters and McNulty analyze any leadership practices that seem to have an impact on leading schools effectively, as well as what leaders can do to increase student achievement, since the authors believe that the distinguishing factors between ineffective and effective schools lie in analyzing student achievement. Studies of school leadership and their correlation have allowed the authors to examine 69 studies published between 1978 and 2001. The authors analyzed 2,802 schools at various levels at multiple-level schools. It is possible that 14,000 teachers and 1.4 million students have been studied for this important work. The large number of participants as well as the many levels of the schools studied give this book validity even though the authors have claimed "We found no available studies that met our criteria prior to 1978 nor after 2001" (p. 29).

Using their analyses of the 69 educational studies meeting their criteria, along with a survey of more than 650 principals, the authors found 21 leadership responsibilities having significant effects on achievement. These 21 leadership responsibilities appear to have significant effects on learning, and the authors correlate each responsibility with the academic achievement it affects. The 21 responsibilities are listed below:

1. Situational awareness. Leaders using information concerning the situation specific to the school and "their use of this information to address current and potential problems."

2. Flexibility. The leaders' ability to adapt to the situation and handle dissent.

3. Discipline. Protecting teachers from "issues and influences that would detract from their instructional time or focus."

4. Outreach. Being a spokesperson and advocate of the school.

5. Monitoring/Evaluating. School leaders create a setup to provide feedback on how effective the activities are.

6. Culture. The leader "fosters shared beliefs and a sense of community and cooperation among staff."

7. Order. The school leader "establishes a set of standard operating principles and routines."

8. Resources. School leaders provide "teachers with materials and professional development necessary for the successful execution of their duties."

9. Knowledge of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment. The school leader "is aware of the best practices in these domains. The focus here is on the acquisition and cultivation of knowledge."

10. Input. School leaders involve "teachers in the design and implementation of important decisions and policies."

11. Change Agent. The school leader embodies a "disposition to challenge the status quo."

12. Focus. The leader "establishes clear goals and keeps those goals in the forefront of the school's attention."

13. Contingent Rewards. School leaders "recognize and reward individual accomplishments."

14. Intellectual Stimulation. The leader "ensures that faculty and staff are aware of the most current theories and practices regarding effective schooling and makes discussions of those theories and practices a regular aspect of the school's culture."

15. Communication. The school leader "establishes strong lines of communication with and between teachers and students."

16. Ideals/Beliefs. The school leader's behaviors include "possessing well-defined beliefs about schools, teaching, and learning; sharing beliefs about school, teaching, and learning with staff; and demonstrating behaviors that are consistent with beliefs."

17. Involvement in Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment. The principal is "directly involved in the design implementation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment activities at the classroom level."

18. Visibility. The school leader "interacts with teachers, students, and parents."

19. Optimizer. The leader "inspires others and is the driving force when implementing a challenging innovation."

20. Affirmation. The school leader "recognizes and celebrates school accomplishments - and acknowledges failures...At its core this responsibility involves a balanced and honest accounting of a school's successes and failures."

21. Relationships. The school leader "demonstrates an awareness of the personal lives of teachers and staff."

Marzano et al. found that though, statistically, all of the 21 leadership responsibilities have a strong bearing on student achievement, there are three which correlate most of all with achievement: (1) Situational Awareness, (2) Flexibility, and (3) the three leadership qualities of Discipline, Outreach, and Monitoring or Evaluation. Their conclusion was that "internal accountability [or responsibility]...is a precondition for any process of improvement" (p. 20).

Marzano, et al. divided past efforts at school change into two types: First-Order and Second-Order Change. The difference between First-Order and Second-Order Change is outlined and the responsibilities for each category are spelled out in the book. First-Order Change is change that is done in an incremental, step-by-step pattern. Second-Order Change is the sudden reversal of direction or patterns, which is the opposite of incremental change always moving in the same direction.

Both First- and Second-Order types of processes can effect change and both require a change of behavior by school leaders. However, there are three truly effective behaviors necessary to effect First-Order Change: (1) Monitoring or Evaluating, (2) Culture (creating a culture that influences teachers in a positive way), and (3) Ideals or Beliefs (in which the leader expresses his or her beliefs and ideals well).The three behaviors most affecting Second-Order Change are (1) Knowing the curriculum, instructing, and assessing both, (2) Optimizing (optimism is a critical element), and (3) Intellectualizing (the stimulation of the staff).

Masrzano et al. show educational administrators: (1) how to choose the type of work that effects improvement in student achievement; (2) advantages as well as disadvantages in complete school reform models in improving student achievement; (3) how to improve student achievement by developing a site-specific approach with a structure containing 11 factors and 39 steps; and (4) a 5-step plan for the school administrators for effective leadership.

It is important for the administrative leaders to select the right work and issues for staff to address, as mentioned above, in order to improve achievement, whether they administer these through use of models which are site-specific, or through comprehensive school reform. Both are effective when tailored to meet the needs and perspective of the specific school.

The book devoted three chapters to research on school leadership, which "has long been perceived to be important to the effective functioning of organizations in general and, more recently, of schools in particular" (p. 12). In Chapter 1, they examine the search for school leadership. The nature and purpose of their research is meta-analysis. Marzano et al. detail the significance of the research method first presented by Gene V. Glass over 30 years ago. Since its inception, the authors say, according to Morton Hunt's 1997 research methods, meta-analysis has been a successful and useful tool in psychology, criminology, and medicine as well as other fields' application. They explain, "meta-analysis allows researchers to form statistically-based generalizations regarding the research in a given field" (p. 7). Through meta-analysis, the authors may make discoveries and make generalizations.

They decided not to use past belief systems where "some researchers and theorists assert that at best the research on school leadership is equivocal and at worst demonstrates that leadership has no effect on student achievement." The authors debunk outdated beliefs through their "meta-analysis of 35 years of research."

Chapter 2 is dedicated to telling the ideas of and honoring prominent and contemporary leadership theories and theorists. The last chapter of Part I, Chapter 3, analyzes the research which has been conducted by the authors. One is introduced to research included in the meta-analysis. They explain their "primary research methodology, uses quantitative techniques to synthesize studies in a given domain," which "was school leadership as practiced by principals" (p. 28). The authors have limited their research to K-12 students, and to schools in the United States or countries with similar educational systems. The studies included correlation between leadership and the academic achievement of the students, in that they have been measured by a standardized test or state accountability test. Finally, the schools have reported the correlation or have reported sufficient information to be able to make this calculation.

Part 2, beginning in chapter 4 and entitled Practical Application, focuses on the results… [END OF PREVIEW]

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