Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

The evaluation of principals and the improvement of public elementary schools

Carol Ann Johnson Willis, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study is to determine how elementary principals are evaluated and the extent to which evaluation is considered a means for assisting elementary school principals to improve student learning. The four major research questions guiding this study are: What evaluation procedures do selected public schools use to evaluate the effectiveness of elementary school principals? What similarities and differences in procedures do selected school systems use to evaluate the effectiveness of elementary school principals? What ways do teachers in selected public schools use to evaluate elementary school principals? How are evaluations of elementary school principals in selected public schools used to improve student learning? The review of research and literature undertaken for this study described contemporary principal evaluation procedures and examined the role of parents, students, and teachers in the evaluation of elementary school principals. Data were gathered about principal evaluation procedures in interviews with fourteen public elementary school principals in demographically diverse schools in the state of Massachusetts. A content analysis of the principal evaluation procedures found in the data was conducted to determine whether school districts have documented principal evaluation procedures, the characteristics of the evaluation procedures that school districts are utilizing, the participants included in the evaluation of principals, and the procedures/similarities and differences in the evaluation procedures. This study analyzed the performance indicators included on principal evaluations and how they contributed to improving student learning. The data gathered in this research found that the participating principals supported the linkage of their evaluation to the improvement of student learning. Further, this research indicated that the participating principals were knowledgeable of their school district's principal evaluation procedures and tat some school districts in Massachusetts are lacking documented principal evaluation procedures. Finally, this study proposes recommendations that may be useful to principal preparation programs and to assist school districts in strengthening principal evaluation procedures for improving student learning.

Subject Area

School administration|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Willis, Carol Ann Johnson, "The evaluation of principals and the improvement of public elementary schools" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110566.