Effective Leadership and Assessment Working Together for School Improvement: Hitching the Horse to the Cart

By E. Nola Aitken.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Predominant themes that emerge from important literature over the past decade include school improvement, capacity building, leadership, and assessment. The last two — leadership and assessment — are subject to various interpretations in terms of concepts and frameworks. This paper focuses on learning-centered leadership and balanced approaches to assessment that lead to improved student achievement. The author explores the power of making connections between these two prominent driving forces and concludes that when they act in consort they form a framework that achieves results. School improvement initiatives, by definition, imply that achievement results will improve. Invariably schools look to assessment strategies as they strive for improved student achievement. The article addresses some theoretical and case study literature, and identifies school leadership practices that are likely to support reaching improvement goals. The author suggests that learning-focused leadership, assessment of student learning, and school improvement when interwoven, provide a framework for an aligned and coherent approach to developing and implementing strategies that can have a positive influence on sustained improvement in a school.

Keywords: Leadership, Assessment

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp.151-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.365MB).

Dr. E. Nola Aitken

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Nola Aitken has been teaching in the Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge, since 1992, and is currently Associate Professor of Education. Previously Nola was a Test Development Specialist for the Alberta Department of Education for five years, and prior to that, a classroom teacher for 23 years. Her academic interests are assessment and leadership practice, mathematics education, and evaluation of student learning. Nola has been co-author of two books, Leading for Change: A Renewed Focus on Teaching and Learning, (2003) and Forever better: Continuous Quality Improvement in Higher Education (2000). Currently in research, Nola is a team member for a study commissioned by Alberta Education on the project, Alberta Student Assessment Study.

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