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An investigation into senior leaders' perceptions and experiences of their roles, responsibilities and appraisal processes in their primary schools : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Administration and Leadership at Massey University, New Zealand
This study explored the current roles and responsibilities of senior leaders
(DPs/APs) in some large New Zealand primary schools, and their experiences
and perceptions of appraisal processes. An online survey (Survey Monkey)
which forty-six senior leaders completed, representing 38% of the sample
group, provided broad and rich understandings on this study’s topic.
While all had heavy involvement in managerial responsibilities, DPs/APs
reported that their key responsibilities were appraising others, supporting
teachers to develop their practice and professional development - all aspects
of ‘leading learning’ practices. Developing other leaders in the school was
also a key component of their role. They perceived appraisal to be most
beneficial for making links between their own leadership and student
learning. The findings suggest that these leaders combined
pedagogical/instructional and transformational approaches to leadership and
used appraisal “to provide a positive framework for improving the quality of
teaching (and therefore learning)” (MoE, 1997, p. 40). As such, DPs/APs in
this study supported the primary purpose of appraisal in New Zealand
The DPs/APs in this study adopted a professional approach to appraisal.
While they defined appraisal as being about both accountability and
development, they viewed the purpose of appraisal as being more about
professional development and student learning than accountability. The study
highlighted tensions around appraisal faced by these senior leaders who
based their practice on legislation, theory, policies, regulations and guidelines
that lack clarity and cohesion. Challenges faced by these senior leaders in
meeting requirements for both attestation and appraisal also emerged.
Unsurprisingly, varying approaches to appraisal processes across schools
were evident. That policy and regulations are aligned and one set of criteria
for appraisal and attestation is developed is proposed.
The DPs/APs in this study expected their appraisal processes to support their
professional development. They expected appraisers to be professional,
skilled and able to provide constructive feedback to support their ongoing
development. That a coordinated approach for the training for DPs/APs is
lacking emerged as a concern. This study supports recommendations in
previous studies that coordinated training for appraisers is provided and that
tools and evaluative frameworks that support to appraisal processes are