A study of superintendents' practices of principal supervision and evaluation : a contrast of low performing and performing schools
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The purpose of this study was to examine the supervision and evaluation of principals by superintendents in light of accountability and low performing schools. The researcher sought to understand both the policy and implementation of principal evaluation through a survey administered to gain knowledge of implementation of policy. Superintendents from school systems across the state of Georgia (N = 146) were surveyed about their supervisory and evaluative practices related to principals of low performing, Title I schools before and after the school received the low performing ("in needs of improvement") status. Additionally, data were collected for superintendents’ supervisory and evaluative practices of principals of Title I performing schools so that comparisons could be made. The mixed method approach allowed for the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. Structured interviews of five superintendents were conducted to gain perspectives of the superintendents’ practices of supervision and evaluation of principals of Title I schools. The qualitative data collected from the interviews were combined with the current related literature of principal evaluation and supervision for the formulation of a survey instrument called the Survey of Superintendent’s Supervisory and Evaluative Practices of Principals. The responses from the statewide survey plus demographic data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of the qualitative data collected from the interviews (N = 5) aided in understanding the quantitative data collected from the surveys (N =105) which yielded statistically significant results finding that both the superintendents’ supervisory and evaluative practices changed after a Title I school became low performing. Moreover, superintendents’ supervisory and evaluative practices of principals of Title I schools that remained performing did not change to the same degree as did for the low performing schools. The findings of the study will assist superintendents as they respond to schools in need of improvement and accountability policy mandates. For policy makers, an understanding of the supervisory and evaluative practices of superintendents in light of accountability are better understood.