Assessing the Success and Failure of Students and Teachers in Learning

When evaluating the performance of a school, people sometimes look to different groups or individuals in order to measure success or failure. Student test scores are a popular method of measuring student retention and performance. Since the scores are standardized, they serve as a way of making comparisons between different schools and different students. However, test scores and grades are not the only measures of academic performance. Many school superintendents develop their own metrics, and those metrics are used in order to analyze teacher performance.

Superintendents have the task of analyzing both teacher and student performance, while also taking into account things like the environment and the background of the students. Some groups of students live in impoverished areas with high crime rates and low levels of academic performance, and thus teachers cannot be judged the same as those who start with groups of students that do not have pre-existing issues that could impact their learning experience.

Overall, a school superintendent serves as the CEO of a district, and plays a major role in evaluating the success or failure of teachers and students in that area.

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Federal and State Laws While superintendents have a substantial amount of leeway in determining how to run the schools in their district, they must ensure they are in compliance with both federal and state laws. In general, federal and state laws pertaining to education typically cover things like the amount of time that a student must be in the classroom, classroom accessibility for disabled students, and other issues.

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It is not as common for a federal or state law to address specific areas of a curriculum, but it is not unheard of.

One example is the issue of biological evolution. Some religious states passed laws in the past that banned schools from teaching biological evolution, and required them to instead teach students other theories, such as the theory of biological life starting as a result of god creating humans in their present form (Moore, 1998). As the author explains, the theory of evolution has “generated the most opposition because it addresses some of our most basic questions: where we came from, how life developed, and how we’re related to other organisms (Moore, 1998, p. 486). Although some states did pass anti-evolution laws in the past, such a practice is not as common in modern times.

Regardless, a superintendent only has the freedom and leeway to make rules and regulations on things that are not going against federal or state law. If either body passes a major law pertaining to education, then the superintendent must act in accordance with that law. The law requires that the superintendent report to the board of directors for a school district, which is another factor that slightly limits the power that a superintendent has. Although the superintendent could potentially make decisions without consulting the board of directors, they could also potentially lose their job if the board voted to have them removed (Smoley, 1999).

As such, superintendents typically meet with the board in order to discuss major changes or any ideas for future changes. In addition, superintendents also provide reports of how teachers and students are performing in a particular district. In most cases, the board of directors vote on major changes for a school district. The superintendent does not cast a vote, and instead merely provides information and suggestions to the board members. In this way, the superintendent’s power is limited, and the board of directors are the ones who make the final say in major decisions. The superintendent plays the role of informing and guiding those votes and decisions.

Leadership Methods The leadership method that a superintendent chooses to use can have a major impact on the success or failure of a school district. Debate exists regarding whether there is a single leadership style that is best for superintendents, or whether there are different styles that can work in different environments. A study was conducted on different leadership styles used by superintendents. Dimensions of leadership like servant, transformational, and democratic were analyzed (Bird & Wang, 2013). Results of the study indicate that there are more than one best leadership styles with regard to education, and that the level of authenticity of each leader may be the variable that is related to whether or not that leader is successful in a particular district. The authors explain, “regardless of leadership style, authenticity within the style may be needed for effectiveness.” (Bird & Wang, 20130, p. 14).

In other words, one superintendent could be highly successful using transformational leadership in a particular district. On the other hand, a different superintendent could be highly successful using servant leadership. Identifying the best method for a particular district is an important part of being an effective leader. An important point regarding districts is that they are not all the same. Students from one particular district may have routinely scored lower than average in the past.

As such, the expectations placed on a superintendent vary from one district to the next (Whitehurst et al., 2014). For example, one superintendent from a historically high-performing school district would likely have much higher expectations placed on him/her than someone from a historically low-performing school district. It is important for board members and parents to have realistic expectations for their superintendent, and those expectations should be based on past performance and how a school is likely to perform in the future. Improvements can be made, but they are often challenging and time-consuming.

A low-performing school is not transformed overnight, and even the best superintendents take time to enact major changes in a school district. Leadership theories are generally split into the categories of situational and traits based. Traits-based leadership theories rest on the assumption that some people are born great leaders, and that they possess certain traits that make them better leaders than others. Those traits can be things like charisma, integrity, or other traits. On the other hand, situational leadership theories are based on adaptation. They are based on the premise that a leader must adapt to each situation, and that great leader can be trained to perform well even if they were not born with a specific set of traits.

With regard to the role of a superintendent, the situational leadership theory is more appropriate. Since superintendents can take their job in highly different school districts, it makes sense that the situation would determine the appropriate method of leadership. For example, one district may have schools that are in need of a more strict discipline method and more orderly schedules, whereas a different district may have too strict of a schedule and may benefit from giving more autonomy to students. It is the role of the superintendent to figure out what is best. Training and Assistance School superintendents receive training and certification in various ways.

In some districts, the previous superintendent assists with training the new superintendent on the way that things run in that particular district. A national certification program for superintendents exists in the United States, and superintendents have the option of completing the program in order to make themselves stand out in comparison with other job applicants. Education is an ongoing process, which is why there are yearly meetings designed for people involved in the educational system. Superintendents are given information on new methods in teaching and managing. The superintendent plays a critical role in the overall success or failure of a particular school district.

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Assessing the Success and Failure of Students and Teachers in Learning. (2022, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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