Logo: Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung


School Leadership as Variable Critical to School Improvement and Student Achievement

The project on school improvement and the professional work of teachers concerns the evaluation of educational institutions and research of their developmental processes. Questionnaire-based data are assessed on the quality of an organisation, different phases of teacher training and co-operation of schools.

Project description

Co-operation among European countries and a growing complexity of decision making processes in the education sector of most European countries have led to an increased interest in the examination of leadership styles of educational school leaders and their impact in producing better results than others. In this context the great interest for school leadership is due to the growing empirical evidence indicating that leadership is a variable critical to school improvement. The core question of LISA (Leadership Improvement for Student Achievement) therefore is concerned with the role that principals leadership styles, attitudes and practices can play in contributing to the improvement and effectiveness of the school, especially educational outcomes for the basic skills of students such as the ones examined under the PISA programme.

Research questions

  1. How is the role of secondary school principals positioned in the educational system of the country?
  2. How do secondary school principals perceive their role, preferred leadership style, and their effectiveness in enhancing the overall quality of education?
  3. Through which intermediary factors and mechanisms can school principals have an impact on the improvement of the well-being and achievement of students?



Ad 1: Documentary analyses, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews

Ad 2: Hypothetical model building, operationalization based on model guided self-perception instruments

Ad 3: Quantitative secondary analysis of international data-sets from TIMSS and PISA, resulting in numerical estimates of path coefficients for each participating country.


The LISA project is funded by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Agency Executive Agency (EACEA) which is responsible for the management of certain parts of the EU's programmes in the fields of education, culture and audiovisual.


  • Association of School and College Leaders (United Kingdom, England)
  • Association of Norwegian School Leaders (Norway)
  • VO-Raad, coordinating organization (Netherlands)
  • National School Leader Association of Slovenia (Slovenia)
  • European Secondary School Heads Association of Hungary (Hungary)
  • National Association of Principals (Italy); School Leader Association of Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany)
  • European School Heads Association

Further Information

They participate, along with researchers from

Dr. Stefan Brauckmann (DIPF, Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Petros Pashiardis (Open University of Cyprus)
Prof. Dr. Jaap Scheerens (University of Twente, Netherlands)



Project Details

Completed projects
12/2007 – 12/2009
External funding
Department: Educational Governance
last modified Aug 04, 2017