Component 7: Using Principal Evaluation Results

Using Principal Evaluation Results

Data collected from the principal evaluation system hold potential for providing principals feedback, support learning, inform personnel decisions, and facilitate preservice and inservice program planning. States and districts should determine, in advance, how evaluation data will and will not be used because this decision informs data infrastructure and reporting decisions. States and districts should clearly communicate intended uses of data to principals.

States and districts also should consider “decision rules,” or points at which human resource actions should be taken. This section describes issues and raises questions to assist states and districts in creating decision rules about the use of evaluation data.

System designers should critically consider who will have access to principal evaluation data and for what purpose. Some states and districts, for example, may be inclined to publicly release performance assessment results, but doing so may lead to unintended consequences. The National Association of Elementary School Principals strongly opposes release of evaluation results because the association believes that making results public will undercut the trust and confidentiality necessary to gather strong data on leadership.

For a more detailed discussion of these topics, see the full downloadable Acrobat version of A Practical Guide to Designing Comprehensive Principal Evaluation Systems.


Decision rules

Guiding Questions

Evaluation results

Guiding Questions

Evaluation of professional
development systems


Guiding Questions

  • Have decision rules for personnel actions using evaluation results been established?
  • Does the state intend to align evaluation results to human resource decisions?
  • At what point will evaluation results warrant promotion, dismissal, progressive discipline, or other decisions?
  • How many evaluation cycles will be used to identify exemplary principals or principals who are in need of improvement?
  • To what degree are processes in place to strengthen performance and track growth?
  • How will evaluation results be shared with principals?
  • How will principals be notified of personnel decisions affecting their career continuation or advancement?
  • Will principal evaluation results be used to target professional development activities?
  • How will performance evaluation data be used to inform professional development choices?
  • How effective is principal professional development planning and monitoring?
  • To what degree must professional development plans align with evaluation results?
  • Will principals identified as ineffective have sufficient opportunities and support to improve before termination is considered?
  • Will personnel decisions be defensible if principals were not provided an opportunity and the resources to improve?
  • What resources, including time and personnel, are dedicated to teacher improvement?
  • How will evaluation systems data inform principal professional development offerings?
  • Can evaluation results be used to identify principals for advanced certification or mentoring positions?
  • Will the state or district work in collaboration with principal preparation programs to ensure that candidates are prepared with the competencies for which they will be held accountable as they begin leading schools?
  • Are systems established to evaluate professional learning efforts?

Evaluating the Training

  • What mechanism will be established to ensure that participant feedback is obtained (e.g., training evaluation, follow-up survey)?
  • What procedures will be established to ensure that active participation and application are integral parts of the professional development activity?

Reviewing the Outcomes

  • Can the evaluation measure(s) detect principal growth as a result of professional development efforts?
  • Can demonstrated principal growth be correlated to improved student achievement?
  • What mechanism will be established to follow up with principals to ascertain whether practice has been improved as a result of the professional learning efforts (e.g., follow-up survey/observation)?

Modifying the Process

  • Can the system identify which professional learning opportunities are/are not effective?
  • Are changes in the evaluation system necessary to associate principal growth and other outcomes with participation in professional learning activities?
  • How will results (e.g., evaluations and outcomes) be used to improve professional development offerings and strategies?


Job-Embedded Professional Development: What It Is, Who Is Responsible, and How to Get It Done Well

This issue brief from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality provides states with specific recommendations for supporting high-quality job-embedded professional development. Recommendations for state leaders are as follows (p. 10):

  • “Help build a shared vocabulary.”
  •  “Provide technical assistance.”
  •  “Monitor implementation of job-embedded professional development as required by federal grant regulations.”
  •  “Identify successful job-embedded professional development practices within the state.”
  •  “Align teacher licensure and relicensure requirements with high-quality job-embedded professional development.”
  • “Build comprehensive data systems to inform decisions about job-embedded professional development.”

Leadership Performance Planning Worksheet

The Leadership Performance Worksheet was developed by the NYC Leadership Academy in partnership with The Wallace Foundation and state department of education representatives from Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky. The worksheet is used to help inform principal coaching, support, and growth and represents a review and synthesis of national principal leadership protocols. It focuses on 40 core leadership behaviors based on nine school leadership dimensions that an administrator must successfully achieve.


School Administrator of Iowa Individual Professional Development Plan

Data generated from the principal evaluation system should be used to inform personnel (e.g., advancement, retention, compensation) and workforce (e.g., professional development) decisions. Principals in the state of Iowa are evaluated formatively using the administrator Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP). The IPDP tool provides a format for the principal and evaluator to collaboratively develop a set of individual goals connected to broader district and school plans. The Remediation Target tool assists principals and evaluators in setting goals that address any performance indicator for which a principal received “not meeting standard” designation. The established targets are expected to be completed within 12 months.

The School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) faced many challenges in its attempt to develop and revise its statewide performance evaluation system. As it relates to Component 7, the state of Iowa faced the challenge of developing and implementing the required individual professional development plans as part of the formative evaluation process. For example, SAI reported that early in the process, principals and superintendents struggled with writing and developing appropriate professional development plans. To address this challenge, SAI developed a module to train superintendents to assist principals in the individual professional development plan process. Although helpful, SAI indicated that effectiveness of the individual professional development plan for formative development is inconsistent because Iowa lacks a system to hold the administrator accountable for meeting goals.

For more details, see the following: