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Assessing the Utility of a Daily Log for Measuring Principal Leadership Practice

Abstract

"Purpose: This study examines the feasibility and utility of a daily log for measuring principal leadership practice.

Setting and Sample: The study was conducted in an urban district with approximately 50 principals.

Approach: The log was assessed against two criteria: (a) Is it feasible to induce strong cooperation and high response rates among principals with a daily instrument? and (b) Can daily logs accurately measure important aspects of principal leadership? The first criterion was assessed through a discussion of data collection procedures and results. The second criterion was assessed through mixed-method analyses comparing daily logs, observations, and an experience-sampling instrument.

Results: The authors found that substantial participant contact time and strategic follow-up achieved strong cooperation and yielded high response rates. The accuracy of the log was confirmed through comparisons with an experience-sampling instrument and direct observations. The results also contribute to a broader understanding of how principals allocate their time across leadership domains. Like earlier structured observation studies, the authors found that principals spend more time on management, personnel issues, and student affairs and less time on instructional leadership than advocated by leadership scholars and professional standards.

Implications for Research and Practice: Daily logs appear to be a viable means of measuring important aspects of principal practice and overcoming measurement errors associated with one-time surveys that are common in leadership research. Strategies used to maintain high participation rates are discussed in detail, and an example of a district's adaptation of the daily log methodology is provided."

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