Transitioning to a meaningful appraisal process: One principal’s journey


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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education


ISSN: 1178-8690





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VOLUME 33 , ISSUE 2 (December 2018) > List of articles

Transitioning to a meaningful appraisal process: One principal’s journey

Bilinda Offen / Susan Sandretto

Keywords : School principal; appraisal, leadership; community of practice

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 33, Issue 2, Pages 60-71, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 02-April-2019



This paper focuses on the role of the principal in establishing a meaningful appraisal process. The journey of one urban primary school is explored from the perspective of the principal as the teaching staff transition from an ineffective system to a process that has teacher growth and learners’ achievement at the centre. We acknowledge that the leadership team and teachers played an important role in implementing any changes, however, the key focus of this paper is the principal’s actions. Audio-recorded interviews with the principal and five teachers, followed by three years of participant observations of regular meetings and conversations recorded in field notes, chart the principal’s journey. We argue the principal’s leadership strategies developed a community of practice supporting teacher professional development, which in turn paved the way to shift teachers’ perceptions and produce a meaningful appraisal process. This shift is evidenced in surveys taken at the beginning and end of the three-year period which show a marked change in teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of the appraisal purpose. We conclude with implications for school leaders interested in revising their appraisal process.

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