Administrative Support

LSC projects used a variety of strategies to engage school administrators. Some offered annual workshops for principals, while others created formal structures, such as a Principals' Forum, to involve administrators on a more frequent basis. Other projects relied on the Classroom Observation Protocol [PDF] (185 K) developed by Horizon Research, Inc., and other LSC-developed instruments to educate principals on ways of evaluating teacher classroom practice.

An analysis of classroom observation data found that lessons of teachers with perceptions of greater principal support tended to be of higher quality than lessons of teachers with lower perceptions of principal support (Bowes & Banilower, 2004). This finding is supported by an analysis of LSC teacher questionnaire data (Heck & Crawford, 2004a). This study found that teachers' perceptions of principal support were positively correlated with their:

  • attitudes toward standards-based teaching;
  • perceptions of pedagogical preparedness; and
  • perceptions of content preparedness.

These findings provide evidence of the importance of principals in improving the instructional programs in schools. Principals need to have an understanding of what teachers are learning in professional development. Without principal support, teachers are not as likely to avail themselves of high quality professional development.

The project director and evaluator of each LSC collaborated on a number of ratings to assess the LSC's success in building a supportive context for reform. Change over time was measured in the extent of support for LSC reforms by various stakeholder groups, such as parents, teachers and principals. The data indicate that, despite an array of barriers - administrative turnover, new initiatives, competing priorities - LSCs appear to have made progress in building stakeholder support for reform (Shimkus & Banilower, 2004a).

The LSC Capstone Report: Lessons from a Decade of Mathematics and Science Reform
(PDF) [354 KB]