Efficacy of school leaders: developing and validating an online self-report instrument

Year: 2013

Author: Vallance, Roger, Moran, Wendy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper describes the development, proving and employment of an on-line professional development and reflect tool for school leaders and school leadership aspirants.
School leaders face increasing array of expectations and competencies. Leaders are expected to meet the expectations of school systems, teaching and administrative school staff, parents and students. These expectations include those of accreditation, registration, curriculum and the systems in which they serve. Leaders are expected to translate school vision into reality, be up-to-date in pedagogy and exhibit high social and interpersonal skills. Recently, the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) has published a standard for school principals. This standard consists of a structure that includes three requirements and five professional practices.
A self-report instrument has been developed to provide feedback on the MCEECDYA leadership standard. The Efficacy Scale for School Leaders (ESSL) (Vallance, Moran and Moran, 2012) is an on-line tool that is supportive of reflective self-analysis, to identify areas where improvement of professional competences might be targeted.
The ESSL was constructed in a six-stage process. These steps included i) a survey the school leadership efficacy literature to consolidate empirically verified findings of efficacious leadership; ii) findings written as behavioural indicators; iii) indicators reviewed by an experienced and knowledgeable panel to determine overlaps, redundancies and omissions; iv) aligning the surviving indicators into eight domains corresponding to the Australian Professional Standard for Principals (MCEECDYA, 2011), again ensuring balance and adequacy for each theme; v) trialling versions of the scale to improve its psychodynamic properties. At the end of the trialling, the reliabilities were at high levels; vi) and finally converting the ESSL to an on-line instrument from the paper-based trial versions. Since mid 2013, on-line participants are increasing the database of responses.
The 56 item scale includes the MCEECDYA (2011) domains: 1) vision and values; 2) knowledge and understanding; 3) personal qualities and social and interpersonal skills; 4) leading teaching and learning; 5) developing self and others; 6) leading improvement, innovation and change; 7) leading the management of the school; and 8) engaging and working with the community. A series of optional questions have been provided for those in religious schools. This paper describes a development process that itself was embedded in school leaders’ professional development. The result is a self-reflective tool that can be used individually by school leaders or optionally provide 360⁰ data from chosen colleagues.