How principals' beliefs about classroom assessment influence their leadership practices : an exploration

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Parker, Maureen
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2006
This study is an exploration of current school leadership and classroom assessment practices in Alberta, Canada. Specifically explored are school principals’ beliefs about classroom assessment practices and how the beliefs influence leadership practices. Qualitative research was conducted through interviews with ten principals from ten different Alberta school jurisdictions. Findings include detailed descriptions and analysis of principals’ beliefs about classroom assessment practices, the origin of their beliefs, ways that assessment data are used, the roles of tradition and isolation in the change process, teacher supervision and evaluation practices, and professional development. Assessment for learning, assessment of learning, and, to a lesser degree, assessment as learning are in the educational spotlight. Professional relationships within schools are being altered through shared and distributed leadership practices and capacity-building. Professional learning communities, AISI (Alberta Initiative for School Improvement) projects, Alberta’s Commission on Learning, and the Alberta Assessment Consortium are contributing in powerful ways to the change process and to teaching and learning practices in Alberta schools. At the same time, gaps between theory and practice, resistance to change, and inconsistent learning conditions for students, teachers, and school leaders are potentially reducing sustainability. The study calls for supportive, coherent professional learning—for teachers and school leaders—that fosters deeper understandings of classroom assessment as well as for student learning to be aligned with current research-based understandings of student motivation and assessment. Findings are linked to educational research on both assessment and leadership. The study concludes by identifying potential future research and outlining professional and political suggestions for increased organizational coherence and sustainable change.
x, 133 leaves ; 29 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , School principals -- Alberta -- Attitudes , School administrators -- Alberta -- Attitudes , School management and organization -- Alberta , Educational leadership -- Alberta , Educational evaluation -- Alberta