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RESEARCH

Investing in principals offers big returns for students and schools

By Elizabeth Foster
April 2021
The school principal has long been recognized as a critical driver for school improvement and student success, but new research supported by The Wallace Foundation has found that principals have an even greater impact than previously stated. A synthesis of two decades of studies builds on previous research about how principals impact student outcomes and what characteristics and conditions lead to the greatest impact. The report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools: A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research, updates the evidence base about school leadership, responds to changing policy contexts, and leverages recent improvements in research methodology. This report is a major contribution to the field as well as a critical resource for the revision of Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning. Methodology

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Authors

The study
Grissom, J.A., Egalite, A.J., & Lindsay, C.A. (2021, February). How principals affect students and schools: A systematic synthesis of two decades of research. The Wallace Foundation www.wallacefoundation.org/principalsynthesis

References

Leithwood, K., Louis, K.S., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning: A review of research for the Learning from Leadership Project. The Wallace Foundation.


Vice President, Standards & Research | + posts

Elizabeth Foster (elizabeth.foster@learningforward.org) is vice president, research & standards at Learning Forward. In each issue of The Learning Professional, Foster explores recent research to help practitioners understand the impact of particular professional learning practices on student outcomes.


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