The Policies and Practices of Principal Evaluation: A Review of the Literature


By Stephen H. Davis, Karen Kearney, Nancy M. Sanders


Publication 2011
Report cover

This comprehensive literature review provides insights into how to best evaluate school principals derived from a set of primary and secondary sources from reputable publications. Researchers analyzed 68 documents, published from 1980 through 2010, to identify themes and perspectives that might be useful to practitioners and policymakers working to improve district principal evaluation systems.

While there is little empirical research on this topic, primary-source publications provide information on the following key areas of principal evaluation:

  • System implementation
  • Evaluation instruments
  • Portfolio-based evaluations
  • Specific evaluation components, such as surveys to identify stakeholder perceptions of principal performance

Secondary-source publications provide:

  • Descriptions that target the status of principal evaluations in states and districts
  • Commentaries about principal evaluations
  • Descriptions of best practices
  • Recommendations for improving principal evaluation policies and practices

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