All together now

Internal coherence framework supports instructional leadership teams

By Learning Forward
June 2019
Vol. 40, No. 3
More than a decade of research suggests that improving the quality of instruction and student learning requires leaders to set a vision for instruction, promote teacher learning around that vision, and foster organizational conditions for teacher collaboration and growth (Louis, Dretzke, & Wahlstrom, 2010). Yet designing professional learning that enhances instructional leadership has proven challenging. Previous attempts may have been unsuccessful because they targeted only school principals rather than teams of leaders or because they were conducted away from school sites rather than being job-embedded. Increasing school leaders’ knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment is insufficient. Improving instructional leadership requires increasing school leaders’ direct involvement with teachers in these core areas. A team-based approach to professional learning is more effective in enhancing the instructional leadership

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Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Michelle L. Forman, and Candice Bocala

Elizabeth Leisy Stosich ( is assistant professor of educational leadership, administration, and policy at Fordham University. Michelle L. Forman ( is the director of internal coherence strategy for the Bank Street Education Center in New York, New York, and the SERP Institute in Washington, D.C. Candice Bocala ( is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a senior research associate at WestEd.


Download the Internal Coherence Survey at


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Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

Elmore, R.F., Forman, M.L., & Stosich, E.L. (2016). The Internal Coherence Survey. Washington, DC: SERP Institute. Available at

Forman, M.L., Stosich, E.L., & Bocala, C. (2017). The Internal Coherence Framework: Creating the conditions for continuous improvement in schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Goddard, R.D., Hoy, W.K., & Hoy, A.W. (2004). Collective efficacy beliefs: Theoretical developments, empirical evidence, and future directions. Educational Researcher, 33(3), 3-13.

Ingersoll, R., Sirinides, P., & Dougherty, P. (2017). School leadership, teachers’ roles in school decisionmaking, and student achievement. Working Paper (#WP 2017-2). Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Louis, K.S., Dretzke, B., & Wahlstrom, K. (2010). How does leadership affect student achievement? Results from a national US survey. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 21(3), 315-336.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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