Waikato Journal of Education
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Wildy, H., Louden, W., & Robertson, J. (2017). Using cases for school principal performance standards: Australian and New Zealand experiences. Waikato Journal of Education, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v6i1.465


This article reports an international validation of a framework for performance standards for school principals. The framework, generated in Australia in 1996-1997, was applied in New Zealand in 2000. The framework involved an innovative method of establishing standards for principals' performance, based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of making judgements about the quality of principals' work. Using cases of critical incidents in which principals made decisions in their everyday work, the essential elements of quality performance, together with a set of dimensions on which performance varied, were identified. This study explored the application of these essential elements and dimensions in a context in which similar school system restructuring is in progress. Three questions were addressed: How valid are the Australian cases in the New Zealand setting? How applicable to the New Zealand setting are the three continua'”duties, interpersonal skills, moral dispositions'”that comprise the framework? And finally, How applicable to the New Zealand setting are the particular duties, interpersonal skills and moral dispositions? This study supports three conclusions. First, cases generated in one context are not applicable in a different cultural setting. However, the method of developing cases is readily applied cross culturally. Second, the values underpinning the framework developed in Australia are similar to, but not the same as, those about which principals in New Zealand assess principal performance. Third, there are similarities, but also important subtle differences, in the particular dimensions on which the framework is grounded. The study indicates the validity of using cases to generate performance standards for school principals.


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