Audit of Principal Effectiveness

Valentine, J. W., and Bowman, M. L. (1988). The Audit of Principal Effectiveness: Instrumentation for principalship research. ERIC ED 311 554.


The instrument was designed to provide useful feedback to principals about their administrative skills. The development of the various scales was based on the effective school literature, which indicates that principals of more effective schools possess the following characteristics: (1) are assertive instructional leaders, (2) are goal and task oriented, (3) are well organized, (4) convey high expectations for students and staff, (5) define and communicate policies effectively, (6) visit classrooms frequently, (7) are visible and available to students and staff, (8) provide strong support to teachers, and (9) are adept at parent and community relations. Thus, the literature and research of principal effectiveness is used as a foundation for the instrument.

Scale Construction: Operating with the guidelines, 162 items describing effective principal behavior were identified. These were categorized under 12 theoretical constructs. Because of the length of the instrument, it was divided into two forms—Form A and B with 81 items each.


The two forms of the instrument were mailed to 3,660 teachers across the United States. The teachers were randomly selected based on seven geographic regions and by elementary, middle, and high school.


Studies dealing with congruent and discriminant validity were provided.

Factor Analysis:

The sample of 3,660 teacher responses was submitted to factor analysis with a varimax rotation. A factor loading of 0.40 or higher was used to retain an item on the factor. A 110-item instruments survived this procedure—55 items on each of Forms A and B. Form A extracted five factors and Form B four factors. The five factors on Form A are instructional management, teacher relations, directional leadership, affective involvement, and affective congruence. Form B produced student orientation, organizational development, organizational linkage, and adaptive leadership.


Edmonds, R. R. (1982). Programs of school improvement: An overview. Educational Leadership 40:4–11. Sweeney, J. (1982). Research synthesis on effective school leadership. Educational Leadership 39:346–52.

Audit of Principal Effectiveness

Sample Items

1. The principal has high professional expectations and standards for self, faculty, and school.
2. The principal encourages changes in the school program that lead to a better school for the students.
3. The principal utilizes resources from outside the school to assist in the study, development, implementation, and/or evaluation of the school.
4. The principal informs staff of new developments and ideas in education.
5. The principal is able to anticipate the effects of decisions.
6. The principal utilizes a systematic process for change which is known and understood by the faculty.
7. When deserving, teachers are complimented by the principal in a sincere and honest manner.
8. The principal takes the time to listen to teachers.
9. The principal finds the time to interact with students.
10. The principal positively reinforces students.
11. The principal keeps teachers informed about those aspects of the school program of which they should be aware.
12. The principal communicates to teachers the reasons for administrative practices used in the school.
13. The principal works with other leaders of the school in the implementation of a team approach to managing the school.
14. The principal encourages faculty to be sensitive to the needs and values of other faculty in the school.
15. The principal is knowledgeable of the varied teaching strategies teachers might appropriately utilize during instruction.
16. The principal maintains an awareness and knowledge of recent research about the learning process.
17. The principal promotes the diagnosis of individual and group learning needs of students and application of appropri- ate instruction to meet those needs.
18. The principal uses objective data such as test scores to make changes in curriculum and staffing.


Respondents are asked to indicate the degree to which each item is descriptive of the skill of an effective principal.