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Educational Leadership

Educational Leadership
Table of Contents


It is interesting to look at leadership from different angles. It can be seen in terms of relational processes, personality traits and leadership or a combination of these. Educational leadership refers to the practical action of teachers, students, parents, society and other external actors. It focuses on improving and implementing processes in any educational institution; educational leadership is related to student achievement and development. They argue that educational leadership “often assumes that the behaviour of teachers engaged in activities that directly affect student development is the focus of leadership”. Therefore, teacher education and leadership are essential in ensuring a better future for the younger generation and society and contributing to the nation’s development. Therefore, teachers with effective pedagogical leadership and management strategies are crucial to ensuring student achievement.

Leadership is mainly based on moral and democratic aspects and summarises the moral dimension as motivation and inspiration to meet needs. Leaders are central to the success of any organization, but perhaps also to education. Leaders are traditionally seen as the main driver of all change, decision making and progress. Principals and school leaders find it difficult to physically and mentally exhaust their students while being entrusted with such broad responsibilities to achieve the ultimate goals of the school. Integrated learning is one of the most fundamental approaches in most modern schools. Most modern schools focus on enhancing students’ learning capacity and ensuring that their intellectual development is accompanied by a holistic balance of emotional, social, physical and spiritual competencies.

This study investigates the impact of effective educational leadership (distributed leadership) on students’ academic performance. Therefore, the contribution of this study is the implementation of educational leadership in school management in public schools in Selangor, Malaysia. The main objective of this report is to examine the impact of effective teacher educational leadership on student achievement and to determine which factors contribute to student improvement and achievement. This paper focuses on the objectives and research questions of the report. A literature review will also be conducted to understand and analyze previous research on educational leadership. The selected literature is a mix of international and national studies to identify differences in the findings of all relevant studies.

Educational leadership: A Conception Framework

There are different perspectives on how leadership is viewed concerning institutions and organizations, a popular topic in educational research. Leadership in educational research refers to schools and administrators. According to (Day et al., 2020) (Leithwood et al., 2020) (and Varela et al., 2020) School, administrators are expected to lead, support, take overall responsibility and motivate all staff and pupils to achieve the school’s goals. In addition, school administrators pave the way for curriculum reform and the creation of positive learning environments (Pollock & K, 2020).

Research on school leadership gained momentum with the Effective Schools study in the 1970s, with studies in the UK and North America showing that some schools did better and others worse. Researchers argue that this situation cannot be explained solely by the unique personal and social characteristics of students and that the fundamental differences between schools lie in the behaviour of principals. As a result, educational leadership appears more frequently in educational research (Pollock & K, 2020).

School leadership is the process of planning and sustaining programmer development, allocating resources, improving staff and student performance, and promoting and directing the achievement of school goals. In setting school goals, principals ensure that they align with the needs of pupils and teachers. (Tan et al., 2018) They also make recommendations for extra-curricular activities. They also guide staff and students in other areas of the school, encourage community organizations to collaborate with the school, and work with families and businesses. In other words, school leaders are primarily responsible for ensuring that students reach their full potential (Leithwood et al., 2020).

According to research on student accomplishment, there is a clear link between educational leadership and student learning. Furthermore, it is considered that educational leadership has an indirect influence on student learning. Although numerous studies show that school leadership does not directly influence student accomplishment, school leaders are often held accountable for student achievement. According to (Jeynes et al., 2018) (Baptiste et al., 2019) (Ismail et al., 2018) (and Bertrand et al., 2018) literature, the meaning and scope of this impact are complicated and contentious. It directs school administrators’ attention to general educational aims and objectives to establish and sustain effective and successful schools (Cansoy et al., 2018).

Many academics believe that school leaders greatly influence everyone in the school community, particularly teachers and students. However, the significance and scope of this impact are debatable and have several aspects. Furthermore, the influence of school leadership on student learning and accomplishment – one of the results of schoolwork – is a complicated subject. (Grissomet et al., 2021)(Ingersoll et al., 2018). Various environmental factors, both within and outside the school, impact the students’ accomplishment and attainment levels. The extent to which leadership impacts activities within and outside the classroom is difficult to quantify experimentally (Jeynes et al., 2018).

The fact that students have relationships with professors outside of school demonstrates that various factors impact the expected behavior of students. The fact that one of the characteristics stated, school leader behavior, has been the topic of countless research indicates the significance of this issue. School leaders’ behaviors have been related to widely recognized as legitimate and trustworthy data in studies that have sought to establish a relationship between various school leaders’ behaviours and child achievement. School administrators may achieve sustainability by identifying, measuring, and monitoring aspects connected to school life standards and norms that go beyond the assessments their pupils are required to pass (Varela et al., 2020).

School Leadership Matters

Over the last two decades, education policymakers worldwide have worked tirelessly to enhance the academic standards of all children via a series of school reforms. Almost all government changes have emphasized accountability and efficiency, with decentralization of financial management and quality control, as well as an increased emphasis on assessment and evaluation (OECD, 2008, 2013).

These educational and legislative developments have resulted in a greater emphasis on school governance in several nations (OECD, 2008, 2010, 2012). What has not changed is the broad policy and academic consensus that “successful school autonomy is dependent on good leadership” (OECD, 2012, p.14). International research has consistently demonstrated leadership’s potential and beneficial influence on school organization, culture, and circumstances, affecting the quality of teaching, learning, and student accomplishment.

According to (Varela et al., 2020) (Harris et al., 2020) (Pollock and K, 2020), Measurable outcomes, such as academic performance and student achievement, are recognized as important indicators that define the ‘effectiveness’ of a school. However, they are not sufficient to define a ‘successful’ school. Some leadership studies conducted in different contexts over the past two decades clearly show that ‘successful’ schools seek to nurture students by promoting positive values (honesty, compassion and integrity), a passion for lifelong learning, and the development of civic, personal, economic and social skills. These social outcomes can be considered necessary for influential leaders to improve student achievement.

Evidence About leadership Effects on Students

Most of what we know experimentally regarding the influence of leadership on student learning is about school leaders. Until recently, it was assumed that the influence of district leadership on children was too indirect and challenging to examine. The following is a synopsis of previous and recent studies on district-level policies and methods connected to student accomplishment on district and district-wide state assessments (e.g., (Ingersoll et al., 2018) (Grissomet et al., 2021) (Jeynes et al., 2018) (Baptiste et al., 2019) these studies give information on specific county-level policies and interventions, but not in the context of leadership theory. The findings are confined to a list of district-level criteria for effective schools. It lacks knowledge on how these features and indicators interact to shape, enable, and sustain excellent teacher and student performance. Exploring leadership’s causes, relationships, and implications for district policy and improvement initiatives would significantly contribute to this research.

Three different types of research support claim about school leadership’s impact on student learning. The evidence comes from qualitative case studies, usually conducted in special schools (e.g. (Baptiste et al., 2019) and (Bertrand et al., 2018)). These conditions are considered conducive to pupils’ learning, i.e. neither above nor below expectations. These studies are based on ‘atypical’ designs, which often have a significant impact on the learning not only of pupils but also in different school contexts (Day et al., 2020); however, these cases lack external validity, i.e. generalisability. The qualitative component of this study will address this by;

  • Elaborating a relatively large number of success stories of leaders,
  • Presenting the results of systematic cross-case analysis,
  • Quantitatively confirming the findings of the qualitative data.

The second source of the study on the influence of leadership is large-scale quantitative research, as indicated in multiple articles published between 1980 and 1998 (some 40 studies encompassing all sorts of schools) that examined similar findings. According to this research, school leadership’s direct and indirect benefits on students’ academic attainment are minor. When enrolment considerations are included, the function of leadership accounts for around a quarter of the variation (10-20%) that all school-level variables can explain. Given the importance of this function, quantitative studies of school success demonstrate that classroom characteristics account for just a tiny portion (approximately one-third) of the variability in student accomplishment. (Bertrand et al., 2018)

The third area of leadership effectiveness research is just as comprehensive and quantitative as the second. These studies, however, concentrate on the impacts of individual leadership techniques rather than the general benefits of leadership. This data is specific to the research mentioned above (Bertrand et al., 2018)

Leadership research is becoming more attentive to the situations in which leaders find themselves and how they expose themselves to the environment to succeed. According to the research findings, the focus should not be on designing a particular leadership model but on understanding how individuals in various leadership roles use this flexibility. Once again, research is desperately needed. (Pollock and K, 2020)

The Basics of Successful Leadership

According to (Pollock and K, 2020) (Tan et al., 2018) (Bertrand et al., 2018), the capacity of district and school leaders to establish high-performing organizations that contribute significantly more to student learning than predicted is dependent on their ability to manage the social and organizational context in which they work. On the other hand, data from districts, schools, and other sources suggest that three major kinds of effective leadership behaviours are generally independent of these contexts. These actions serve as the “basis” of excellent leadership and are required but not adequate in virtually all situations (Grissomet et al., 2021).

Divide leadership practices into ‘purpose’, ‘people’ and ‘social structures and systems. Describe “visionary strategies”, “strategies for effective puppy rearing”, and “strategies for environmental change”. Strategies”; place them in terms of “setting direction”, “human resource development”, and “organizational restructuring”. Thus, in review, most of the 21 specific leadership practices relevant to student learning fell into these categories (Jeynes et al., 2018).

These leadership practice categories are strongly tied to the transformational leadership approach, Bass (1997). They have proven beneficial in a wide range of cultural and organizational situations. This transformative strategy has proved beneficial for educational organizations, particularly in affecting the success or failure of various large-scale school reform initiatives (Bertrand et al., 2018).

Distributed leadership is Given a More Thorough and Thoughtful Consideration.

For almost 70 years, the concept of “distributed leadership” has been widely employed in educational leadership practice and research, and it has a broad meaning and connotation. Neither school principals nor teachers can assume the exclusive responsibility for leadership. Influential leaders build and rely on the contributions of many people within the organization. For this leadership (Day et al., 2020), school administrators frequently rely on their colleagues in teacher organizations and local administration. Parent leaders are frequently involved in organizational management. A variety of central office and school leadership posts, as well as elected principals, are used by school principals. Effective school and district leaders understand how to leverage outside influences to expand their impact (Varela et al., 2020).

Although many educators use the phrase “distributed leadership” religiously, there is significant overlap with other long-established and well-known leadership ideas such as “sharing,” “collaboration,” “democracy,” and “participation.” Furthermore, given the concept of leadership described here, dispersed leadership might be readily misconstrued with basic management job allocation (Pollock & K, 2020).

In recent years, promising efforts have been made in the press to extend the notion of dispersed leadership beyond its ordinary implementation and establish its nature and efficacy. Other responsibilities, in turn, are crucial at different levels. (Grissomet et al., 2021) (Ingersoll et al., 2018) Managers in formal leadership roles, for example, may believe it is critical to retain responsibility for developing the organization’s broader vision. Furthermore, different leadership models in districts and schools are likely to have varying amounts of influence on pupils. This exciting research field will help ensure that dispersed leadership does not become a fad (Baptiste et al., 2019).

Given our understanding of dispersed leadership, policymakers and management may want to adopt a more conservative approach to the notion until the full impact of the word on schools and students is well known. There is compelling evidence that influential leaders in many organizational contexts, such as schools and the military, and distinctly national cultures, such as the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United States, require a shared set of behaviours. These techniques can also be found in several leadership paradigms. (Cansoy et al., 2018)

Instructional Leadership

The theory of educational leadership originated in research conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s in inner-city schools where students were succeeding despite difficulties found that these schools were characterized by strong educational leadership, including a distraction-free learning environment, a transparent system of educational goals and high teacher expectations of students. Initially, educational leadership was seen as the responsibility of the school principal. Consequently, indicators of leadership, such as (Tan et al., 2018) (Cansoy et al., 2018) (Harris and A, 2020) and (Leithwood et al., 2020) the Principal’s Instructional Leadership Rating Scale, focused solely on the principal and ignored the contributions of other staff in setting learning goals, overseeing the curriculum and developing a positive school and learning culture. Focusing solely on the principal reinforces a heroic role model that is rarely achieved.

More recent research is more extensive, with multiple indicators of educational leadership used by principals and their designees, accountable leadership and collaborative learning leadership. A recent assessment of the impact of educational leadership on student achievement is presented below. The indirect contribution of school leaders to student learning is also statistically significant, but to a much lesser degree”. This conclusion was based on a review and discussion of the literature on educational leadership research rather than on the calculation of statistical effect sizes for each relevant study (Grissomet et al., 2021).

Mr. Parthipan is the principal of Bukit Bintang Boys Secondary school that is located in Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia.  Mr. Parthipan is an advocate for helping students in the intermediate grades because he thinks that doing so is essential for the child’s future success in school. When asked about the most significant issues in instructional leadership, Mr. Parthipan said the following in an interview regarding those issues.

“Being an instructional leader in a world of standardized testing presents one of the greatest challenges principals face today. Many “evaluations” of school districts, individual schools, and individual teachers are based on the results of standardized tests. This is an interesting piece of information, but it doesn’t tell the complete story for our children. In many classrooms, teachers who are not providing the finest learning environments for their students yet manage to help their students achieve outstanding results on even the most fundamental state standardized tests. In far too many cases, these ratings serve to reinforce the teachers’ beliefs about the quality of their work, making it difficult to convince them that they must make adjustments. “My students are doing fantastic, look at their testing data” is a common response. While this is a debatable argument, it is our responsibility as instructional leaders to equip educators with the tools they need to understand that high test scores do not necessarily indicate high levels of student learning.”

In yet another conversation, Pn. Nurul ‘Ain binti Mohammad Zain. She lives in Selangor, Malaysia and works as both a principal and an adjunct professor at a SMK Bandar Baru Sultan Suleiman secondary school. She has worked as a principal, middle school teacher, and high school teacher, as well as a basketball coach. She is aware of her influence as a leader and makes good use of her position to encourage and advance the development of those around her. She said;

“Principals, in my opinion, have it hardest right now in the fight against inequality. While we have been “reforming” public education for years to avoid becoming a “nation at risk” by leaving children behind in our pursuit of academic excellence, and while we have used standardized tests for decades to identify and separate students, the case for equity for all students persists despite these efforts. My drive as a leader is fueled by the fight for equality. For many students, getting a good education is their only shot at a better future. Every day, the classroom is a microcosm of the larger society, reflecting issues such as the lack of resources to implement policy demands, implicit bias and low expectations, the state of the political and social atmosphere, and racial and socioeconomic inequality. Leaders must see to it that all kids have access to a high-quality education in a safe and equitable learning environment, regardless of the circumstances. It is incumbent upon us as leaders to have the fortitude to name injustice for what it is when we see it. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to resolving this inequality problem. Leaders can only make progress in this area if we advocate for all children.”

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is defined as the ability of confident leaders in various sorts of organizations to engage personnel and produce new levels of energy, dedication, and moral purpose. The article (Varela et al., 2020) (Harris et al., 2020) (Pollock and K, 2020) investigates the ability to nurture. It contends that this energy and devotion to a shared vision transforms the organization by fostering the ability to collaborate to overcome obstacles and accomplish lofty goals (Bertrand et al., 2018).

(Leithwood et al., 2020) used Burns’ theory to create research methods for analyzing transformative leadership. Many empirical studies on transformational leadership in education have employed these approaches, but few have studied the influence of transformational leadership on students’ academic and social results. 33 research were conducted, with around half discovering a little indirect influence of transformational leadership on students’ academic and social results. However, statistics on the magnitude of the influence of transformative leadership on students’ academic and social results were not calculated in this research (Jeynes et al., 2018).


This report summarises many empirical and literature-based studies. Our objective is to provide a foundation for vital new projects to help us better understand leadership and student development. Without a question, district and school leadership is a critical connection between most educational reform programmes and their impact on children. Current data reveals that leadership is second only to teaching influencing school student learning. Furthermore, strong leadership is most successful when required (for example, in “failed” schools). This research confirms the general desire to improve leadership as a prerequisite for effectively integrated transformation.

Leadership teachers are better at controlling their classes and motivating their students to do well in school. A dearth of research examines how classroom teachers who take on leadership roles affect their students’ progress in the classroom and beyond. About a quarter of all school impacts may be attributed to leadership’s direct and indirect effects on students’ learning. Effective school leadership has been shown to have a more dramatic impact on student achievement in schools with more challenging demographics.

In this study, the authors controlled for student and school-level factors to examine the effect of principals’ instructional leadership and four characteristics of instructional leadership on students’ college entry scores. The most critical and intriguing finding was that principals’ overall instructional leadership does not have a significant effect on the final average college entrance scores for a school; rather, it significantly moderates the relationship between high school entrance scores and college entrance scores for students in both the liberal arts and the sciences, even after controlling for the influential demographic variables. Consequently, the pace of academic improvement in high schools is a factor that may be affected by instructional leadership. Leadership in the classroom that is more focused on student success helps students succeed. In some aspects, this study’s findings corroborate those of others. Many studies have shown a favourable correlation between solid instructional leadership and student success. Therefore, studies have suggested bolstering educational leadership might boost students’ academic performance.

Our research also demonstrates that many individuals, not simply ‘ordinary’ school principals, undertake education leadership. However, regular people continue to have the most significant power. Efforts to increase recruiting, training, evaluation, and continual improvement should be viewed as a cost-effective means of achieving school success. These efforts will be aided by research into how influential leaders respond meaningfully and productively to external policy initiatives, local needs and priorities, and how their practices pervade the fabric of the education system, improving overall quality and significantly increasing the value of student learning.


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