High employee turnover is usually seen as both indicating and contributing to low-performance in professional organizations, and especially in schools. In a recent study, two psychologists set out to investigate the potential influence of principals on this important factor.
To do so, the researchers analyzed administrative data from Tennesseee, a US state that comprises around 1,800 schools serving almost 1 million students, and focused on three elements:
Confirming the initial hypothesis, principals scoring high on both measures were found to experience lower rates of teacher turnover. Interestingly, however, the researchers add that “the evidence is consistent with strategic retention behavior--principals who receive higher ratings on the administrative evaluation rubric are more likely to retain teachers with high observation scores, but less likely to retain teachers with very low observation scores” (quote from the original article.)
While the ability to identify and dismiss underperforming teachers is a clear management skill, the ways in which effective school leaders are able to retain high-performing educators is certainly worthy of future and closer examination.
Reference: Grissom and Bartanen (2019), “Strategic Retention: Principal Effectiveness and Teacher Turnover in Multiple-Measure Teacher Evaluation Systems”, American Educational Research Journal, 56, 2, pp. 514-555.