While hiring the right principal is crucial to ensuring a school operates effectively and maximizes student achievement, once credentials are checked, districts often rely on a principal selection process that’s largely subjective, rather than data-based … but PeopleAdmin is bringing together research and technology to change that.
“A principal will affect how a school functions as an organization and how teachers operate within the school,” said PeopleAdmin Chief Research Officer Nick Montgomery. “If you hire the wrong principal, you really are missing the cornerstone for school success.”
To assist K-12 leaders in selecting the best principals for their schools, Nick worked with a research consortium to determine the measurable candidate traits that predict principal effectiveness … then the PeopleAdmin team built the Principal Educators Professional Inventory (Principal EPI)®.
— a solution that makes it easy to analyze and access these data on each individual applicant.
“PeopleAdmin’s Principal EPI is a tremendous tool in the creation of our administrative candidate pools,” said Chris Tatum, director of secondary personnel at Amarillo Independent School District in Texas. “It has given our executive team a solid set of data points to make more informed hiring decisions for each of our campus leadership positions.”
So, how does it all work? The key, Nick says, is building upon a foundation of solid research.
“The research consortium is a group of individuals and organizations that are experts in the fields of research, education, psychometrics, and predictive analytics,” Nick said. “We came together to identify the components that matter most for predicting principal effectiveness by looking at a variety of components — the actions, activities and behaviors of a principal — and how those influence the school as an organization, as well as the culture within that school. We then looked at how that ultimately translated to student experiences and student outcomes.”
The research uncovered four domains that indicate principal effectiveness:
- Principal responsibilities — candidates’ knowledge of teaching and their understanding of school improvement factors.
- Leadership dispositions — their personality and values.
- Leadership skills — candidates’ creativity, decision-making skills and follow-through.
- Principal qualifications — their ability to meet licensure requirements, as well as their previous teaching and leadership experience.
Based on this information, PeopleAdmin created the Principal EPI’s 120-question assessment.
“The assessment measures those first three domains — principal responsibilities, leadership dispositions and leadership skills — and then an applicant tracking system would give the district access to information on their qualifications,” Nick explained.
After principal candidates complete the assessment, the scores are instantly available, sorted and rank-ordered with other applicants so it’s easy for district leaders or administrators to quickly identify who is most likely to have the best impact on student outcomes.