Assessing directorship in the schools of Ticino (Switzerland)

Ostinelli, Giorgio and Crescentini, Alberto and Crotta, Francesca (2018) Assessing directorship in the schools of Ticino (Switzerland). UNSPECIFIED. In: Abstract book Deepening School Change for Scaling: Principles, Pathways & Partnerships, 8-12 January, Singapore.

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This proposal is about the development of a principal assessment questionnaire,to be submitted to Swiss-Italian and Italian principals and teachers. Its philosophy is primarily formative, and its target is to help principals in improving their professional performance. By the end of 2017 it should be validated, and then submitted to principals and – by comparison and in a duly adapted format - to their teachers. The present version of the questionnaire (alpha 1, see later) was built holding into account the researches developed by Robinson and her colleagues (Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2007), who, on the basis of a meta-analysis, defined five areas proving to be effective on students outcome: 1. Establishing Goals and Expectations; 2. Strategic Resourcing; 3. Planning, Coordinating and Evaluating Teaching and the Curriculum; 4. Promoting and Participating in Teacher Learning and Development; 5. Ensuring an Orderly and Supportive Environment. Moreover, we took into account the development and the results of the Val-Ed inventory (Porter et al., 2010), we added a personality area taking inspiration from the CPSM inventory (Huber & Hiltmann, 2011). Finally, we considered the major theories on leadership, like transformational, distributed and sustainable leadership (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1990, 2006; Harris, 2008; Hargreaves & Fink, 2012), that were included “transversally” in our items. The questionnaire is currently developed throughout three stages (Alpha 1 and 2, Beta 1, Final). Alpha 1 is devoted to the fine-tuning of the first bulk of items and is performed individually with some principals and inside the research team; Alpha 2 is a pre-test performed with a small group of principals; the resulting items (Beta1) will then be tested with a major group of principals, and, through the use of traditional statistical techniques (Item analysis, Cronbach Alpha, PCA) a definitive version will be established. We will count on qualitative data coming from the stages Alpha 1 and 2, quantitative data coming from Beta 1 and the final version. By the end of this year we will be able both to present the results of the validation process(from Beta 1 to definitive), and to report our experience with principals during the development of the device (from Alpha 1 to Beta 1). The importance of this study for theory lays on getting more knowledge about the interplay between some features of principal leadership and their development,and the effective implementation of change inside schools. As a matter of fact, the collected information will be used for sustaining schools during a reform process currently happening in Ticino (Switzerland), where schools and principals will be supported in their improvement journey through forms of coaching. Some data will also be available to the school system administrators, helping them in gaining a better understanding on how principals are acting inside the framework of the whole school reform. The topic is related to the conference theme n. 4 “Measuring and Evaluating School Change”, since the questionnaire is focused on the role that principals play for change inside schools.

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