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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 12, no. 18 (April 24, 2004).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c April 24, 2004
What predicts the mobility of elementary school leaders? An analysis of longitudinal data in Colorado / Motoko Akiba [and] Robert Reichardt.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 21 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass College of Education Arizona State University Copyright is retained by the first or sole author, who grants right of first publication to the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES EPAA is a project of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Volume 12 Number 18April 24, 2004ISSN 1068-2341What Predicts the Mobility of Elementary School Lea ders? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Colorado Motoko Akiba University of Missouri-Columbia Robert Reichardt Alliance for Quality Teaching Denver, ColoradoCitation: Akiba, M., Reichardt, R., (2004, April 24 ). What Predicts the Mobility of Elementary School Leaders? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Colorado. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12 (18). Retrieved [Date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epa a/v12n18/.AbstractWhile many studies have reported the predictors of teacher attrition, we know little about what predicts the a ttrition of school leaders. Using the Colorado state data on elementar y school principalsÂ’ and assistant principalsÂ’ career paths from 1999 to 2001 and school achievement-level data, we addresse d two research questions: 1) How do the age-specific attr ition rates differ by gender and race? and 2) What other condit ional factors are associated with the attrition of school leaders ? We found that female and minority groups generally had higher att rition rates at age 40 or younger and at age 56 or older than male and non-minority groups. Our data also indicated that s chool size and
2 of 21 salary increase were associated with the attrition of both male and female leaders. Large schools were more likely to have higher rates of school leader attrition, and the le aders who expected relatively higher salary increases by tran sferring were more likely to leave their schools. Lower school ac hievement predicted higher attrition of female leaders only. These findings have important implications for policy-makers when they plan and implement strategies for preventing high attrition rates of school leaders.IntroductionRecent reports and statistics have shown that many schools and districts are experiencing high attrition rates of school princip als and superintendents (Cunningham & Burdick, 1999; National Association o f Elementary School Principals, 1998; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002). In the time of systemic educational reform, stable leadership is crucial in order for the leaders to effectively provide a rich environment for improvin g student learning (Useem, Christman, Gold, & Simon, 1996). Given the empiric al evidence on the important role of principal leadership to improve s tudentsÂ’ academic performance, particularly of low achievers (Andrews & Soder, 1987; Leithwood & Montgomery, 1982; Zigarelli, 1996), frequent turn over of school leaders would pose a serious challenge for implementing systemic educational reform. Despite such possible negative consequences, we kno w little about what explains school leadersÂ’ attrition. While it has be en argued that school leader attrition is caused by retirement of the baby boome r generation and those who leave education-related positions, studies have fou nd that most attrition of educators is due to their transferring from one sch ool to another (Ingersoll, 2001; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002). The i ncreasing pressure under current educational reform to improve student achie vement using the accountability system has been discussed as an impo rtant factor that discourages qualified candidates from taking leader ship positions (Adams, 1999; Cooley & Shen, 2000; Copland, 2001). Natural ly, such pressures on school leaders would encourage those who are servin g challenging schools to move to other schools if given the chance.In this study, we utilized the Colorado Department of Education data on elementary school principalsÂ’ and assistant princip alsÂ’ career paths from 1999 to 2001, which include the information on their bac kgrounds, working conditions and state standard-based test scores in reading and writing for fourth-graders on the Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) fro m 1999 to 2002. The research questions we addressed are: 1) How do the age-specific attrition rates differ by gender and race? and 2) What other condit ional factors are associated with the attrition of school leaders?This study represents the first attempt to empirica lly examine the factors associated with school leadersÂ’ attrition. The fact ors associated with educatorsÂ’ transferring have often been investigated by econom ists who applied labor market theory (Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2001). In this study, we address this important policy question based on the analytical m odels developed from labor
3 of 21 market theory. In the following sections, we will i dentify what the past studies have found about the major predictors of educatorsÂ’ attrition.Related LiteratureAttrition Due to Moving and Leaving the ProfessionMost researchers have focused on attrition due to t he departure of educators pursuing other noneducational jobs or retirement, o r Â“leaversÂ” (Bobbitt, Leich, Whitener, & Synch, 1994; Chapman & Hutcheson, 1982; Greenberg & McCall, 1974; Hafner & Owings, 1991; Haggstrom, Darling-Ham mond, & Grissmer, 1988; Heyns, 1988; Miech & Elder, 1996; Murnane, 19 87; Murnane, Singer, & Willett, 1988; Rumberger, 1987; Schlecty & Vance, 1 981, 1983). However, attrition can be also understood as the mobility of teachers and school administrators who leave their positions to assume other teaching or administrative positions in the same district or ot her districts, or Â“moversÂ” (Boe, Bobbitt, Cook, Barkenic, & Maislin, 1998; Grissmer & Kirby, 1987, 1992; Hanushek et al., 2001; Ingersoll, 2001; Murnane, 19 81; Rollefson & Broughman, 1995).Researchers have placed less emphasis on this aspec t of attrition because it does not affect the overall shortage of educators, unlike leavers. Nevertheless, studies have found that most attrition of educators is due to their moving from one school to another (Ingersoll, 2001; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002). In addition, from the perspective of school effecti veness, it is important to consider the attrition rates of educators regardles s of whether they quit their jobs or moved to other schools. High rates of attri tion at a school level mean employment instability, which affects the productiv ity of the organizational functions.Predictors of School LeadersÂ’ AttritionThe only study that examined the factors influencin g the leadership mobility was conducted by Ehrenberg, Chaykowski, and Ehrenberg ( 1988). Using the 1978-83 panel data from more than 700 New York Stat e superintendents and their districts, they tested the hypothesis that a districtÂ’s high educational performance and low school-tax rates, as the indica tors of its success, were associated with superintendentsÂ’ mobility to a high -paying position elsewhere. The data suggested that low school-tax rates but no t achievement were significantly associated with their mobility. There have been no studies that examined the factors associated with the turnover o f school leaders: principals and assistant principals.Economic theory argues that individuals find work b y choosing among alternative employment opportunities instead of att empting to maximize their own abilities. When applied to school leaders this suggests that the decision of whether to remain at a school or move to another pr incipal position or occupation is a function of the working conditions at that school and of other opportunities. The other opportunities include othe r school leadership positions, other positions within the education system, and po sitions outside of the
4 of 21 education system. Alternative opportunities for emp loyment will vary depending upon regional labor markets (Murnane & Olsen, 1989, 1990). The attractiveness of any given job is partially a function of individ ual taste and partially a function of individual factors such as age and gender, and i nvestments in a given career, such as education.Predictors of Teacher AttritionWhile no study exists that has investigated the pre dictors of school leader attrition, the cumulative findings on the predictor s of teacher attrition over the past two decades would provide insight. The studies on teacher attrition have found that a teacherÂ’s demographic and professional characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, subject area, and performance le vel); working conditions (student characteristics, class size, existence of teacher union, district expenditures, and school decision-making system); a nd alternative opportunities (trajectory toward promotion, salary) are significantly associated with their decision to move or leave.The relationship between age and teacher attrition has been found to form a U-shaped curveÂ—younger teachers have high rates of attrition, but the rates decline through the mid-career period, yet increase again as teachers approach retirement age (Bobbitt et al., 1994; Boe et al., 1 998; Grissmer & Kirby, 1987, 1992, 1997; Hafner & Owings, 1991; Murnane et al., 1988; Murnane, Singer, Willett, Kemple, & Olsen, 1991). Higher attrition r ates are especially distinct among young women who are most likely to leave thei r teaching jobs to engage in full-time child rearing. They are more likely th an older women and men of all ages to leave teaching for a period of time and the n return to the classroom (Murnane, 1987; Murnane & Olsen, 1989, 1990; Murnan e et al., 1988; Murnane et al., 1991).In addition, special-education teachers and teacher s whose specialty is in science (especially chemistry and physics) and math ematics are more likely to produce high rates of turnover (Bobbitt, Leich, & C ook, 1997; Grissmer & Kirby, 1987, 1992; Murnane, 1987; Murnane & Olsen, 1989, 1 990; Murnane et al., 1988; Murnane et al., 1991). Higher scores on the National Teacher Examination (NTE) is another factor associated with a greater likelihood of leaving a teaching job. Murnane, Singer, and Willet t (1989) found that white teachers with high NTE scores are more likely to le ave teaching after only a few years and are less likely to return than are white teachers with low NTE scores. TeachersÂ’ working conditions measured by student, school, and district characteristics, are other major factors that predi ct teacher turnover. Based on the data on Texas teachers, Hanuschek, Kain, and Ri vken (1999, 2001) found that student characteristics are more important pre dictors of teacher turnover than salaries. Except for African American teachers the typical Texan teacher appears to favor high-achieving, non-minority stude nts. African American teachers also favor high-achieving students but sys tematically move toward schools with higher concentrations of black student s (see also Carroll, Reichardt, & Guarino, 2000; Greenberg & McCall, 197 4; Theobald, 1990). Examining the effects of class-size characteristics on teacher turnover rates,
5 of 21 Mont and Rees (1996) found that larger class size, larger number of classes taught, and the higher percentage of class time spe nt in areas outside a teacherÂ’s certification area were significantly ass ociated with the higher turnover rates of high school teachers. Ingersoll (2001) fou nd that teachers are more likely to leave their schools with the negative wor king conditions that include excessive class size, lack of administrative suppor t, and a low level of teacher decision-making. Less district expenditures on inst ructional staff and low district salaries (Theobald & Gritz, 1996) and the presence of teacher unions (Eberts, 1987; Rees, 1991) are other predictors of a teacher Â’s decision to leave his or her school district.Finally, researchers have found that the indicators of later career opportunities are also important predictors of teacher turnover. Based on the data on New York State teachers, Brewer (1996) found that male teachers are sensitive to both the availability of administrative posts and e xpected administrative rewards when making decisions to quit (see also Murnane et al., 1988, 1989). Higher salaries are also associated with greater retention of teachers (Baugh & Stone, 1982; Murnane & Olsen, 1989, 1990; Murnane et al., 1989; Murnane et al., 1991; Rumberger, 1987; Schlecty & Vance, 1981, 1983 ; Theobald & Gritz, 1996); the teachers earning more tend to stay in te aching longer than those earning less. The effect of increased salaries from old job to new job is especially significant factor for beginning teacher s to leave their schools (Murnane et al., 1991).Leadership Attrition and School AchievementThe increasing pressure in current educational refo rm to improve school achievement under accountability systems has been d iscussed as an important factor that discourages educatorsÂ’ pursuit of leade rship positions (Cooley & Shen, 2000; Copland, 2001). In addition, accountabi lity systems may also discourage school leaders from applying for positio ns at low-achieving schools because of the intensive responsibility and potenti al risk associated with the difficulty of making progress in student achievemen t. However, little evidence is available to explain th e relationship between current accountability systems and school leadersÂ’ attritio n. While we do not have any data on the indicators of accountability systems, t his study will provide important information on the association between school achie vement and leader turnover, which later studies on the effects of acc ountability systems can build upon. If we find that more leaders are moving out o f low-achieving schools than high-achieving schools, two explanations are possib le: 1) School leaders feel that the responsibility produced by the accountabil ity system is excessive and are deciding to move to other schools and/or 2) the district replaced the school leader with another leader as a result of school re structuring. Our data are unable to verify either of the explanations, but th e information on the association between leader attrition and school ach ievement level would guide future studies that have data on accountability sys tems.Methods
6 of 21 DataThe data were collected from the Colorado Departmen t of Education (CDE). The data include the information on all educators w ho have been employed by Colorado school districts from 1999 to 2001. By mer ging the data from each year, we can identify the career path of educators over the three years, including leaving education-related positions, and transferring from one school to another. We selected the data on principals and assistant principals in elementary schools only. Note 1 The data comprise information on 714 principals and assistant principals in 694 elementa ry schools in 94 districts. Note 2 Of the school leaders in the sample, 64 percent o f them were female and 19 percent were of an ethnic minority (AfricanAmerican, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian). The mean age was 48.AnalysisWe conducted two sets of analyses in order to addre ss each of our research questions. To examine our first questions on the ag e groupÂ–specific attrition rates by gender and race, we compared the attrition rates of male, female, minority, and non-minority school leaders by seven age categories: 35 or younger, 36 to 40 years old, 41 to 45 years old, 46 to 50 years old, 51 to 55 years old, 56 to 60 years old, and 61 or older.In order to address our second question, the predic tors of school leader attrition, we used multiple logistic regression ana lysis with the dependent variable of whether the school leader left to take another education-related position between 2000 and 2001. Based on the past r esearch on teacher attrition, we included the indicators of school lea dersÂ’ demographic and professional characteristics; working conditions; a nd alternative opportunities and the labor market as the predictors of school le ader turnover. We have also included school achievement level as a predictor.VariablesThe variables used in the second sets of analyses a re summarized in the following.Dependent variable Movement: dichotomous variable of whether the leade rs moved from their schools to other schools within or outside their sc hool districts (1 = yes, 0 = no). Independent variables LeadersÂ’ demographic and professional characteristi cs: Minority: the minority status of the leader. Afric an-American, Hispanic, and Native American leaders were coded as 1, the others as 0. Age: dummy variables of the age group of 35 or youn ger and the
7 of 21 age group of 51 or older, with the age group betwee n 35 and 51 as the reference variable. Seven percent were 35 or yo unger, and 42 percent were 51 or older.Education level: dummy variables of masterÂ’s degree (or specialist degree) and doctorate degree, with bachelorÂ’s degre e as the reference variable. Eighty-four percent possessed a masterÂ’s degree or specialist degree, and 9 percent possessed a doc torate. Working conditions: Poverty level: percentages of students receiving a free or reduced lunch program. They varied from 0 percent to 95 per cent, with a mean of 33 percent. Percentage of minority students: the percentages ofAfrican-American, Hispanic, and Native American stu dents. They varied from 1 percent to 99 percent, with a mean of 33 percent. Interaction of poverty and minority: interaction te rm of poverty level and percentage of minority was included because of the strong correlation between these variables. School size: dummy variables of large schools (i.e. 600 or more students) and small schools (400 or fewer students) with the middle-size schools, between 400 and 600, as the re ference variable. Twenty-eight percent were coded as large schools, and 31percent were coded as small schools. School location: Note 3 Dummy variables of city and rural schools, with the suburban school as the reference variable. Thirty-four percent of schools were coded as city, and 22 perce nt of schools were coded as rural. School achievement level Note 4 : the average percentages of fourth-graders who achieved at or above proficient level in standardized reading and writing tests in 1999, 200 0, and 2001 in the schools where the leaders worked in 2000. Instructional expenditure per student: the district Â’s instructional expenditure per student. The expenditures varied fr om $3,166 to $6,168, with a mean of $4,064. Administrative expenditure per student: the distric tÂ’s administrative expenditure per students. The expenditures varied f rom $347 to $1,867, with a mean of $540. Alternative opportunities and labor market: Annual salary difference between 2000 and 2001: the salary change in units of $1,000 from old to new position for tho se who moved to another school; and the salary change based on the same job for those who stayed in the same school. The change var ied from -28 to 35, with a mean of 5. Number of administrative positions: the number of p rincipals and assistant principals within the district where the leaders moved to in 2001. Five Colorado labor markets: four dummy variables ( the regions North, West, South, and Metro), with Pikes Peak as the reference region. Results
8 of 21 Before we move to the results from the analyses tha t addressed our two research questions, we will note that we also exami ned what types of career paths constitute the rates of school leader attriti on at a given school level. Figure 1 shows that the percentage of princi pals and assistant principals who left their schools between 1999 and 2000 and be tween 2000 and 2001. Three different types of career paths are pre sented here: 1) those who left education-related jobs or moved to other state s, 2) those who moved to schools in other districts, and 3) those who moved to schools in the same district. Figure 1. Attrition of School Leaders: Percentage o f principals and assistant principals who left their schools during 1999-2001 Approximately 26 percent and 23 percent of elementa ry school principals and assistant principals quit their schools between 199 9 and 2000 and between 2000 and 2001, respectively. For the 1999Â–2000 data 8 percent left their education jobs or moved to other states, 5 percent moved to schools in other districts, and 13 percent moved to schools in the s ame district. Between 2000 and 2001, 9 percent left their education jobs or mo ved to other states, 4 percent moved to schools in other districts, and 10 percent moved to schools in the same district.A common belief regarding the turnover of school le aders is that it is explained mainly by the retirement of the baby boomer generat ion. However, this graph shows that the percentage of those who left (which includes those who retired) does not explain most of the school leader attritio n. Indeed, only 6 percent of those who left their education job or moved to othe r states were age 60 or older in 1999, and only 11 percent of the population were in this age group in 2000. Therefore, contrary to conventional wisdom, the maj or part of school attrition is explained not by retirement but by those who move t o other schools.
9 of 21 Figure 2: Attrition Rate of School Leaders by Gende r and Minority Status Note: The attrition rate of minority leaders who ar e at 61 or older is not available due to the small sample size (N=5).Analysis 1: The age-specific attrition rates by gen der and race Figure 2 shows through seven age categories the per centage of principals and assistant principals who left their schools between 2000 and 2001: 35 or younger, 36 to 40 years old, 41 to 45 years old, 46 to 50 years old, 51 to 55 years old, 56 to 60 years old, and 61 or older. The four lines indicate the separate attrition rates of female, male, minority, and non-minority leaders. We can see the general patterns of U-curved attrition rates, with 35-or-younger and 61-or-older categories being the highest. However, we can see differences between female and male, and non-minority and minor ity groups. The attrition rates of female leaders and minority leaders are ge nerally higher than those of male leaders and non-minority leaders, except at mi ddle-age stages between 46 and 55.Female and minority leaders especially have higher attrition rates at age 35 or younger (about 30 percent and 40 percent) than male (25 percent) and minority leaders (20 percent). Likewise, at age 56 to 60, fe male and minority have higher attrition rates (about 40 percent and 35 percent) t han male (about 18 percent) and non-minority (25 percent). Higher female attri tion rate is probably associated with the fact that younger females are m ore likely to leave their positions due to child rearing. However, due to the lack of past studies, we do not know what factors explain the distinctively hig her attrition rate of the minority group compared to that of the non-minority groups. Future studies explaining such differences are needed. Higher attrition rates of female and minority leaders at age 56 or older than of male and non-min ority leaders in that age group indicate that female and minority leaders are more likely to retire earlier
10 of 21 than their counterparts. Female leaders and minorit y leaders may be more oriented toward their families and less inclined to prolonged professional careers after retirement age.Analysis 2: What predicts the school leader attriti on? Given the different rates of school leader attritio n, it is important to understand what factors predict principalsÂ’ and assistant prin cipalsÂ’ decisions to leave their schools. From Figure 1, we can see that the major part of the school leader attrition is explained by those who moved to other schools within or outside their districts. Therefore, we excluded these leavers, wh ose major reasons for leaving may be different from those who moved to ot her schools. Figure 2 shows that there is a gender difference in the attr ition rates of school leaders. Based on the possible differences between gender on the predictors of school leadersÂ’ moves, we analyzed the predictors of schoo l leader movement separately for females and males.The results of multiple logistic regression analysi s of the predictors of school leader turnover during 2000 and 2001 are presented in Table 1. As we can see, none of the indicators of leadersÂ’ demographic and professional characteristics were significantly associated with either female or male leadersÂ’ movements except a masterÂ’s/specialist degree for female lead ers. Female leaders who hold a masterÂ’s degree or a specialistÂ’s degree wer e less likely to move to other schools than those holding only a bachelorÂ’s degree Table 1 Predictors of Principal/Assistant Principal Turnove r by Gender FemaleMale Sample Size 465260 LeadersÂ’ demographic andMinority -.093a.185
11 of 21 professional characteristicsWorking ConditionsPoverty -.033 (.024) .032 (.033) Minority (Students) -.012 (.022) -.009 (.040) Poverty X Minority c.001 (.000) -.001 (.001) Large School .924 (.313)** .794 (.478)Â†Small School -.485 (.861) .347 (1.024) City -.060 (.439) .941 (.602) Rural .142 (.453) .068 (.662) Instructional expenditure per student .001 (.001) .000 (.001) Administrative support per student .002 (.001) -.002 (.002) School Achievement 99-01 CSAP scores d-1.365 (.562)* 1.039 (.821) CSAP scores X Poverty -.002 (.017) -.023 (.020) CSAP scores X Minority .029 (.019) -.018 (.024) Alternative opportunities and Salary difference .054 (.031)Â†.075 (.031)* School leader positions -.001 (.002) -.004 (.004) North .026 (.571) -1.578 (.833)Â†South .227 (1.006) -.537 (1.346) West -.396 (.828) -.360 (.876) Metro -.463 (.587) -.113 (.806)
12 of 21 labor marketCox & Snell R2 .07.14 Note: ** p< .01 p< .05 Â† p <.10 Dependent variable is whether or not the school lea ders left their schools during 2000 and 2001 (1=yes, 0=no). a Multiple logistic regression coefficients.b Standard error.c The interaction term of poverty and minority was i ncluded because of the high correlation between these factors.d The mean of standardized 4th grade reading and writing scores in 1999, 2000, and 2001.An indicator of working conditions, the dummy varia ble of large school was significantly associated with both female and male leadersÂ’ movements from their schools: They were more likely to leave large schools than middle-size schools. Contrary to past research findings on teac her movement (Hanuschek et al., 1999; 2001), the poverty level and the perc entage of minority students were independent from school leadersÂ’ movement to o ther schools. School location and district expenditures on instruction a nd administration were also not significantly associated with school leader tur nover. In terms of alternative opportunities for the leade rs, the salary difference between their new and old positions was significant ly associated with transfers to other schools for male and female leaders: Those who had large increases in their salaries from 2000 to 2001 were more likely t o move. For both female and male leaders, the number of school leader positions within their districts was not significantly associated with whether they left the ir schools to take other education-related positions. Colorado labor markets within the state were also independent from leader turnover, with one exceptio n: Male leaders were less likely to move from the North region.Finally, school achievement level, measured by the average standardized percentage of fourth-graders achieving at or above proficient level in reading and writing, was significantly associated with fema le leadersÂ’ transfers from their schools, while there was no significant relationshi p between school achievement level and male leadersÂ’ movements. Fem ale leaders were more likely to leave low-achieving schools. One standar d deviation increase, approximately 20 percent of students achieving at o r above average indicates the decrease in the probability of school leaders l eaving their schools by about 30 percent in the case of female leaders. Note 5 This achievement variable explains about 2 percent of the total variance for female leaders in the rates of attrition based on transferring schools. There was no significant interaction effect between achievement level and poverty and be tween achievement level
13 of 21 and percentage of minority students.This analysis revealed that school achievement leve l is an important predictor of the turnover of female leaders but not of male lead ers. Although the size of the effect is moderate, this finding has significant po licy implications for schools and districts that are considering effective retention strategies.Conclusion and DiscussionThis study represents the first systematic attempt to identify the predictors of school leadersÂ’ movement to other schools. Finding s from this study can be summarized as follows. The retirement of the baby boomer generation is not the major factor contributing to the attrition rates of school leade rs. Rather, moving to other schools, within or outside districts, account s for a major part of school leader attrition. Attrition rates by gender and race indicate that fe male and minority leaders are more likely to leave their schools at a ge 35 or younger and at age 56 or older than male and non-minority leaders at the same ages. Both female and male leaders are more likely to mov e when there is an expected increase in compensation for transferring to another education-related position. Both female and male leaders are more likely to lea ve large schools than middle-size and small schools. School achievement level is significantly associate d with female leadersÂ’ movements to other schools but not with male leader sÂ’ movements. Female leaders are more likely to leave low-achievi ng schools than high-achieving schools. The analysis shows that more principals and assista nt principals left their positions because they took other positions in educ ation, rather than because they retired or found non-education-related positio ns. This indicates that if policy-makers address the reasons for leader attrit ion, there is a great possibility of lowering the attritionÂ—unlike the situation of r etiring school leaders, in which what policy-makers can do is quite limited. The ma jority of studies on school personnel attrition have focused on the people who left their education-related jobs elsewhere altogether, and little is known abou t what predicts the attrition explained by movement from one school to another. T herefore, it is important to understand the reasons why school leaders leave the ir schools to take other education-related jobs, in order to achieve an equa l and effective distribution of school leaders among schools.Attrition rates by gender and race indicate that fe male and minority leaders are more likely to leave their schools at age 35 or you nger and at age 56 or older than male and non-minority leaders at the same ages Higher attrition rates of female leaders compared to that of male leaders can be explained by maternity leave, the same reason for higher attrition rates o f female teachers than male teachers in past studies. Orientation toward family of female leaders may also explain the early retirement reflected in their hig her attrition rates. More studies are needed to understand why minority leaders are m ore likely to leave at a
14 of 21 younger age and to retire early compared to non-min ority leaders. Male and female leaders are more likely to leave th eir schools when they expect a higher-paying position in education. Importance of salary increase as a factor contributing to school transfers has been explained in past studies on teacher turnover (Brewer, 1996; Murnane et al., 1988, 1989) At least one researcher has pointed out that male teachers are more sensiti ve to monetary incentives than female leaders (Brewer, 1996). The argument is supported by this study on leadership movement: The effect of salary differenc e was larger on male leaders than on female leaders. However, the signif icant level of salary difference effects for both male and female leaders may indicate that such gender difference effects may be smaller among scho ol leaders than among teachers.Large schools tend to lose school leaders more than middle-size and small schools do. It is difficult to discover the actual reason for these relationships; however, factors not examined in this study that ar e associated with large schools may be contributing to this relationship. F or example, school leaders may prefer small schools because of their capacity to build close relationships with faculty and students. More studies are necessa ry in order to fully understand the association between school size and leadersÂ’ decisions to leave their schools.We observed significant effects of school achieveme nt on female leadersÂ’ movements, but school achievement was independent f rom male leadersÂ’ movements. The data indicate that female leaders ar e more likely to leave low-achieving schools. Two explanations are possibl e for the relationship between school achievement level and female leader movements. One is that female leaders decide to leave low-achieving school s because of the challenges they face in establishing leadership. An other is that they are replaced by other leaders by the district as a resu lt of school restructuring or for school improvement. Our data do not allow us to ide ntify which explanation is more plausible, although the first explanation is m ore likely given the uncommonness of whole schools being restructured.In either case, it is likely that female leaders ar e facing more difficulties in low-achieving schools than male leaders. This may be explained by the gender disadvantage in establishing effective leadership w ithin a male-dominated leader community. Organizational socialization res earch has revealed the nature of the socialization process that teaches a person the knowledge, values, and behaviors required of those filling a r ole within a particular organization (Monane, 1967). When a school as an or ganization expects conventional white male leadership, female and mino rity leaders struggle to lead because of the misalignment between their pers onal traits and the conventional leadership role expectations the schoo l has. The stress female and minority leaders experience in enacting leaders hip due to lack of organizational support has been well-documented (Or tiz & Marshall, 1988; Valverde, 1980)Given such a disadvantage in establishing effective leadership, female leaders may try to avoid low-achieving schools, which pose additional challenges to female leaders. Under the accountability system, wh ich demands improved
15 of 21 student learning, the level of challenges female le aders face to be effective leaders in conventional organizational culture is e specially enhanced. Policy-makers and educators need to be aware of th e gender disadvantages female leaders experience and should provide suppor t to avoid having to lose capable female leaders.While our results have significant policy implicati ons based on the analyses of the statewide longitudinal data, our data possess l imitations. First, this study utilized the data on elementary school principals a nd assistant principals only. Studies focusing on middle school or high school le aders may produce different results due to the differences in student populatio n, school size, and organizational goals based on the studentsÂ’ develop mental stages. Second, our data is limited to one state. While our results may be reasonably applied to elementary schools in other states that are similar to Colorado, we need to be cautious about applying the results to s tates with different demographic and school system characteristics. Stud ies utilizing nationally representative data on the attrition of school lead ers are needed. Lastly, more information on the organizational envi ronment of schools and on characteristics of school leaders is necessary, in order to understand the comprehensive picture of what predicts school leade rsÂ’ movements from one school to another. The quality of school leadersÂ—su ch as their levels of interest in and orientation toward professional development, advancement, and promotion; the nature of their educational visions and goals; and the degree to which they support standardized testing systems wou ld be important factors needing to be examined. In addition, information su ch as the nature of a schoolÂ’s decision-making system (i.e., the level of teacher involvement in decision-making); the level of shared values among teachers; the level of teacher professionalism in subject matter, in the c ase of middle schools; and agreement with and support for standardized testing systems would significantly enhance the data capacity to examine what working c onditions predict school leadersÂ’ movements.Despite these limitations, the findings from this s tudy provide important policy-relevant information. The fact that the majo r part of attrition rates are explained by movement rather than retirement indica te that policy-makers and practitioners need to pay attention to principalsÂ’ and assistant principalsÂ’ movements to other schools in addition to retiremen t when designing and implementing policies to solve their high attrition rates. We need to be also aware that because female and minority leaders are more likely to leave at age 35 or younger and at age 56 or older, they should b e provided enough support to overcome any possible challenges they are experi encing when they decide to leave their schools.The data suggest that limited monetary compensation is a crucial factor that needs improvement in order to keep qualified elemen tary school principals and assistant principals. Policy-makers should also und erstand the gender differences in the predictors of leadership turnove r. Schools and districts need to provide support for school leaders, especially f emale leaders, to use their leadership effectively so that student achievement can improve and that the challenges in low-achieving schools can be overcome
16 of 21 NotesThis study was conducted while the authors were at Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). We would like to th ank Dr. Zoe Barley, Dr. Helen Apthorp, and Dr. Kerry Englert for their valu able comments on the earlier manuscript and support of this study. The data on elementary schools only were selected b ecause the data included the largest number of schools and leaders compared to middle schools and high schools, allowing us to have enoug h statistical power in the analysis. We defined K-5 and K-6 schools as ele mentary schools. 1. The data did not allow us to separate principals an d assistant principals. Therefore, we chose the population of principals an d assistant principals and defined them as school leaders 2. Schools were assigned to one of three different loc alesÂ—urban, suburban, or ruralÂ—using locale codes contained in the 2000Â–0 1 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Common Core of Data (CC D) for schools. In this study, the six locale codes in the CCD were co mbined into three more general locales: urban, suburban, and rural. School s classified as urban had NCES-assigned locales of large central city or mid-size central city. Schools classified as suburban had NCES-assigned lo cales for urban fringe to large city or mid-size city. Schools were classified as rural if they had NCES-assigned locales for large town, small tow n, or rural. 3. All the percentages on achievement used in this stu dy were standardized based on the equation (school percentage at and abo ve proficient) Â– (state mean percentage at and above proficient) / ( the standard deviation of the school percentage within the state). This wa s done in order to standardize the percentage across different subject levels and grade levels. 4. A logit estimation procedure was used to interpret the logistic regression coefficients based on the following equation:P = exp (L1) / [1+exp(L1)] Â– exp (L0) / [1+exp(L0)] where P is the increase in the probability of the school l eaders leaving their schools when X increases one unit. L0 is the logit before the unit change in X, and L1 is the logit after the unit change in X. 5.ReferencesAdams, J. P. (1999). Good Principals, Good Schools. Thrust for Educational Leadership, 29 (1), 8-11. Andrews, R. L., & Soder, R. (1987). Principal Leade rship and Student Achievement. Educational Leadership, 44 (6), 9-11. Baugh, W. H., & Stone, J. A. (1982). Mobility and W age Equilibrium in the Educator Labor Market. Economic of Education Review, 2 (3), 253-274. Bobbitt, S., Leich, M., & Cook, L. (1997). Whither didst thou go. journal of special education, 30 371-389. Bobbitt, S., Leich, M., Whitener, S., & Synch, H. ( 1994). Characteristics of stayers, movers, and leavers: Results from the teacher follow up survey, 1991-1992. Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics.
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19 of 21 Valverde, L. A. (1980). Promotion socialization: th e informal process in large urban districts and its adverse effects on non-white and women. Journal of Educational Equity and Leadership, 1 36-46. Zigarelli, M. A. (1996). An empirical test of concl usions from effective schools research. The journal of educational research, 92 (2), 103-110.About the AuthorsMotoko AkibaResearch Assistant Professor202 Hill HallUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaPhone: (573) 884-3730Fax: (573) 885-5714Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMotoko Akiba is a research assistant professor of E ducational Policy in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Ana lysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. AkibaÂ’s research program foc uses on the identification of effective school conditions that improve learnin g and health-related behaviors of K-12 students from high-poverty communities.Robert Reichardt, PhDExecutive Director, Alliance for Quality Teaching1410 Grant St. Suite 105-BDenver, CO 80203Phone: 303-839-8400Fax: email@example.comRobert Reichardt is Executive Director of the Allia nce for Quality Teaching, a non-profit organization that works to improve teach er quality in Colorado through research, networking, and advocacy. Prior t o working at the Alliance Robert was a Senior Researcher at Mid-Continent Res earch for Education and Learning. The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is epaa.asu.edu Editor: Gene V Glass, Arizona State UniversityProduction Assistant: Chris Murrell, Arizona State University General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State Un iversity, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: email@example.com
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