STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES AND THE IMPACT ON PRINCIPALS’ SELF-EFFICACY BELIEFS
Smith, James Scott
Richardson, Patricia M
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Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) as defined by the Maryland State Department of Education are “a specific, rigorous, long-term goal for groups of students that educators distinguish to guide instructional and administrative efforts.” They serve “as one of the measures of student growth for the State Principal Evaluation Model and represent a significant portion of the evaluation” (MSDE, 2013, p. 15). While much work has been done in Maryland with regard to principal evaluation forms, processes, and timelines, evaluators are given limited guidance on how to work with principals to attain their SLOs. A deeper understanding of social cognitive theory—specifically self-efficacy beliefs—may help inform, organize, and enhance the SLO process. An emerging field of study may provide meaningful insight into the work done with leaders to set purposeful SLOs and to support them through the process. This directed study of 26 principals contributed to the research about principal self-efficacy beliefs and gathered principals’ reactions to their evaluation experiences relative to the SLO process. The study used the Principal Self-Efficacy Survey (PSES) followed by a series of questions eliciting reactions to the SLO process from the principals who have gone through an evaluation cycle. The specific questions asked of principals, relative to their SLO process, were aligned with Albert Bandura’s four determinants of self-efficacy: mastery learning, vicarious learning, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. The study confirmed higher mean self-efficacy scores by principals who met their SLOs and reinforced the determinants of Albert Banduras were present in the process used by this school system. By learning more about principal self-efficacy beliefs and factors that positively or negatively influence such beliefs, recommendations can be made for tailoring the SLO process to increase principal self-efficacy beliefs.