Pennsylvania Department of Education

A Statewide Program Increases Principal Effectiveness

Explore the Pennsylvania NISL Case Study

Overview

Over a decade ago, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell sought a systemic solution to the state-wide challenge to improve student achievement. Rendell and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Frances Barnes wanted to improve both teacher effectiveness and the skills and knowledge of school leaders. The governor and education secretary directed staff to mine research on school leadership effectiveness to find solutions to the seemingly intractable challenge of raising student achievement. That research led directly to NISL’s EDP program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education partnered with NISL to create the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Initiative, which is built on the EDP program. Two rigorous, independent studies show that the NISL program, first implemented in Pennsylvania in 2005, is producing significant gains in student achievement.

Stimulated by this success, Pennsylvania changed its school leadership regulations in 2007 to require that all novice principals and assistant principals complete the EDP-backed PIL program within five years of taking on the role. Principals who successfully complete the PIL program are awarded administrative certification. With NISL, Pennsylvania found a systemic approach to developing standards-based leadership competencies that produce positive student results.

“… [T]he results … represent highly promising evidence that the NISL Executive Development Program for school leaders may result in statistically significant, substantial, and sustained improvements in student performance in reading and mathematics, particularly in the challenging context of secondary schools. This is particularly noteworthy given that the program is highly cost-effective.”

Nunnery, J.A., Yen, C. & Ross, S.M (2011). An Examination of the Effects of the National Institute for School Leadership’s Executive Development Program on School Performance in Pennsylvania: 2006-2010, Old Dominion University

Solutions

Researchers compared student achievement results in 101 schools led by EDP graduates to results in demographically similar schools. In NISL schools, students achieved proficiency more quickly than peers in comparison schools. Researchers calculated that 1,225 more students achieved proficiency in ELA after NISL’s intervention, and 1,089 more students achieved proficiency in math during the same time frame in NISL schools. Researchers concluded: “The results of this study represent highly promising evidence that the NISL Executive Development Program for School Leaders results in statistically significant, substantial, and sustained improvements in student performance in reading and mathematics. …This is particularly noteworthy given that the program is highly cost-effective” (Nunnery, Yen & Ross, 2011).

Tammy Stern speaks directly to the effects of the NISL training program which she completed during her tenure as principal of Connellsville Area High School: “I was able to make researched-based changes that I learned about through the NISL program . … [For example,] based on what I learned from the NISL program, I assigned the teaching staff differently than the way it had been done in the past. … I was able to devise a stronger program based on what I learned through my NISL training.”

Read the Full Reports

Request Reports

Call For Pricing

Information on the NISL’s pricing:

(202) 449-5060

  • Proven Impact

    A direct link to statistically significant student achievement gains.

  • + 1 Month

    NISL-led students gain over a month of learning over peers.

  • + 9.48%

    Increase in math proficiency rates above matched schools.

  • 1/10th Cost

    NISL achieves same achievement gains at one tenth the cost

  • 120 Schools

    NISL increased proficiency in math and literacy assessments.

See Our Key Results