Increasing accountability pressure to have schools and teachers show improvements in student learning outcomes is being advocated by politicians, public policy, and parent populations. This requires school leaders to transform their leadership practices to instructional leadership practices that lead to greater learning outcomes for students. The most powerful effects on student learning are associated with leaders who (1) promote and participate in teacher learning; (2) plan, coordinate, and evaluate teaching; (3) establish goals and expectations; (4) deal with strategic resourcing, and (5) provide an orderly and supportive environment. Large learning gains have been documented when school leaders are actively involved in collecting and evaluating assessment data and in designing and monitoring pedagogical responses to the assessment results. Two important constraints have been identified: (1) assessment instruments must be formatively diagnostic rather than simply producing total or rank order scores and (2) consequences around assessment results must be structured so as to take advantage of teachers’ dominant commitment to improvement as the fundamental rationale for assessment. This paper will describe the model used in New Zealand for instructional leadership that transforms school learning outcomes through effective use of educational assessment tools and data.
Keywords: Educational Improvement; Accountability, Learning Outcomes