A Rasch investigation of work values and school leadership practices in a Singapore school context

Year: 2015

Author: Goh, Jonathan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The study of leadership in education has gained much interest over the last few years. Understandably, its attraction in education lies in its potential to impact positively school development and improvement - more specifically, in the areas of organizational, teacher and outcomes for the 21st century. Theories such as instructional leadership, distributed leadership and transformational leadership remain intuitively attractive, compelling and positive in the education literature, and there have been claims that they impact school climate and environment, and the instructional capacities of teachers. A review of the literature however shows that the educational leadership discourse remains to be disparate and contested containing many adjectival forms of leadership (e.g., moral, ethical, parallel, sustainable … leadership), prescriptive and western prone. Clearly, successful leadership in schools should be judged on its contextual merits rather than on a universal, prescriptive framework. Empirical evidence from our large-scale multi-level study (i.e., Hierarchical Linear modeling on Rasch linear measures) on Singapore school leadership indicate that micro leadership practices are very much influenced by macro contextual forces which include Asian Singaporean societal value for pragmatism, efficiency, hierarchy and meritocracy. The focus of this paper is on school leaders’ work values and their relationship with leadership practices (such as Distributed Leadership, Instructional leadership and school culture) in schools. By understanding the meanings and relevance of leaders’ work values, we are able to better appreciate how leadership and the nature of organizations within any society are determined within its particular cultural, social and political context. (246 words)

Short biography(ies) of the presenting author(s)

1. Dr. Jonathan WP GOH is an Associate Dean (Research Support) at the Office of Education Research (OER) and Associate Professor in the Policy and Leadership Studies (OER) department, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His teaching and research interests include data analysis techniques (including Rasch analysis, hierarchical linear modeling and structural equation modeling), student learning approaches and assessment, educational leadership and management, and educational marketing.