The Texas Legislature passed a mandate to create several school interventions designed to develop strong and effective school leaders, and funded the Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP) to improve student academic achievement, graduation rates, and teacher retention by improving leadership skills. Specifically, the program was designed to help principals learn sound business and management practices. AIR concluded that TxPEP improved principals’ leadership capabilities, although no evidence was found of a positive program impact on student performance.
Principals from 250 campuses in their first year of academically unacceptable status were required to participate in the program, and other principals or principals-in-training could attend. AIR conducted a statewide evaluation of the first year of the Texas Principal Excellence Program, providing the Texas Education Agency with formative and summative feedback about the program.
AIR conducted the statewide evaluation of the first year of TxPEP, providing the Texas Education Agency with formative and summative feedback about the program. The formative part of the evaluation addressed questions regarding program implementation and quality as well as the usefulness of the program to the participants in their day-to-day work in schools. The summative evaluation focused on determining the impact of TxPEP on participants’ leadership abilities, student performance and graduation rates, as well as school-level outcomes such as teacher retention.
For the summative evaluation, the AIR team used a matched comparison design to examine the program’s impact on principals, their schools, and students. TxPEP participants were matched to nonparticipating Texas principals with similar characteristics from similar schools using administrative data.