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About The VAL-ED | Research

Investigating the validity and reliability of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education, Authors: Andrew Porter, Morgan Polikoff, Ellen Goldring, Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott, & Henry May, Elementary School Journal, 2010.

In this article, we report on the validity and reliability evidence for the VAL-ED accumulated in a national field trial. Using data from more than 270 schools across a wide range of settings, we found that the instrument was reliable for measuring principals' learning-centered leadership. Furthermore, there was mostly positive evidence that the VAL-ED distinguished among subscales of principal performance. In conjunction with findings from the VAL-ED development phase, these results support the conclusion that the VAL-ED can be used by K-12 schools to assess learning-centered leadership.
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Developing a psychometrically sound assessment of school leadership: The VAL-ED as a case study, Authors: Andrew Porter, Morgan Polikoff, Ellen Goldring, Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott, & Henry May, Educational Administration Quarterly, 2010.

Research has consistently shown that principal leadership matters for successful schools. Evaluating principals on the behaviors shown to improve student learning should be an important leverage point for raising leadership quality. Yet principals are often evaluated with the use of instruments with no theoretical background and little, if any, documented psychometric properties. To address this need, a team of researchers in principal leadership, assessment development, and psychometrics developed the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED). The purpose here is to report on iterative development work where the instrument was tested and revised across several cycles. Future work to investigate the instrument's psychometric properties is identified.
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Leadership for Learning: A Research-Based Model and Taxonomy of Behaviors, Authors: Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott, Ellen Goldring, & Andrew Porter, School Leadership & Management, 2007

In this article, we examine the components of leadership for learning employing research on highly productive schools and school districts and high performing principals and superintendents, using a three-dimensional model of productivity. We capture the knowledge base of leadership for learning under eight major dimensions: vision for learning, instructional program, curricular program, assessment program, communities of learning, resource acquisition and use, organizational culture, and advocacy.
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Assessing Learning-Centered Leadership: Connections to Research, Professional Standards, and Current Practices, Authors: Ellen Goldring, Andrew Porter, Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott, & Xiu Cravens, Leadership and Policy in Schools, 2009.

Effective school leadership is key to students' academic success. But the development of effective school leadership has been seriously hampered by the lack of technically sound tools to assess and monitor leaders' performance. This paper presents the research base and conceptual framework for the VAL-ED. The Vanderbilt assessment system will contrast sharply with existing tools by focusing "100 percent" on topics related to instructional leadership and by clearly defining and measuring the leader behaviors that can improve learning.
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Leaders for Productive Schools, Authors: Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott, Ellen Goldring, & Andrew Porter, International Encyclopedia of Education (3rd ed.), 2010.

This article reviews the literature on effective schools and school improvement to develop a portrait of leadership for schools in which all youngsters reach ambitious academic performance targets. That is, a framework to describe "leadership for productive schools" is presented. The framework is divided into eight major dimensions: vision for learning, instructional program, curricular program, assessment program, communities of learning, resource allocation and use, organizational culture, and social advocacy. Each dimension, in turn, is comprised of three or four core functions. Functions, in turn, are defined by the specific behaviors that leaders employ to shepherd the school toward important organizational outcomes.
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The evaluation of principals: What and how do states and urban districts assess leadership? Authors: Ellen Goldring, Xiu Cravens, Joseph Murphy, Andrew Porter, Stephen Elliott, & Becca Carson, Elementary School Journal, 2009.

In this article we present results of a comprehensive review of principal leadership assessment practices in the United States. Our analyses of both the general content and the usage of 65 instruments, 56 at the district level and 9 at the state level, provided an in-depth look at what and how districts and states evaluate principals. Using the learning-centered leadership framework, we focused on identifying the congruence (or lack thereof) between documented assessment practices and the research-based criteria for effective leadership that are associated with improved school performance.
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An examination of differential item functioning on the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education, Authors: Morgan Polikoff, Henry May, Andrew Porter, Stephen Elliott, Ellen Goldring, & Joseph Murphy, Journal of School Leadership, 2009.

In this report, we present results from a differential item functioning (DIF) study of the assessment. Using data from a national field trial, we searched for evidence of DIF on school level, geographic region, and urbanicity. We found evidence of intercept DIF for urbanicity on four items and slope DIF for urbanicity on one item, although all magnitudes were small to moderate. We conclude that the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education's items are not biased on the basis of these school characteristics, bolstering its use in schools around the country.
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The Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education: Measuring Learning-Centered Leadership, Authors: Joseph Murphy, Ellen Goldring, Xiu Cravens, Stephen Elliott, & Andrew Porter, Journal of East China Normal University, 2011.

Principal leadership assessment and evaluation can be an integral part of a standards based accountability system and school improvement. When designed accurately, executed in a proactive manner, and properly implemented, it has the power to improve organizational performance and to identify leaders of the future. But the development of effective school leadership has been seriously hampered by the lack of technically sound tools to assess and monitor leaders' performance. This paper presents the research base and conceptual framework for a new principal leadership assessment tool: the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED). We begin with our definition of leadership and observations about the importance of leadership. We then present our model of school leadership. The VAL-ED model is presented along with a conception of leadership behaviors that fits within a larger context of leadership assessment, school performance and student success. With a detailed review of the literature on leadership for learning, we demonstrate how VAL-ED contrasts with existing tools by focusing "100 percent" on topics related to instructional leadership and by clearly defining and measuring the leader behaviors that can improve learning.
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Standard Setting for Principal Leadership Assessment: A Deliberative Process, Authors: Xiu Cravens, Ellen Goldring, Andrew Porter, Morgan Polikoff, Joseph Murphy, & Stephen Elliott, under review.

A rational, sound and coherent standard setting process is essential to the validity and the credibility of an instrument that assesses school personnel competencies. Using qualitative analyses of observations and semi-structured cognitive interviews, this article examines the inner-workings of setting performance standards for a principal leadership assessment from the deliberative perspectives of the participants. The findings confirmed that standard setting is a cognitively demanding process and the formation of cut score convergence hinged upon the effective implementation of key process elements. Furthermore, the study provided insight on the influence of external factors such as backgrounds of panelists, consideration of school contexts, and concerns over consequence during the standard-setting deliberation.
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VAL-ED Technical Manual
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VAL-ED in Short Form
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