NASSP and LPI Research Agenda


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and Learning Policy Institute (LPI) have partnered on a yearlong intensive research project to identify the causes and impact of principal turnover nationwide. On this collaborative project, the team will identify what causes principal turnover and raise awareness of the issue through data analysis and original research that is presented in a series of three briefs.

The agenda also includes analysis of both the U.S. Department of Education’s National Teacher and Principal Survey and a national principal survey that will delve deeply into the five focus areas that emerged from the initial research. Findings from the survey will increase the field’s knowledge regarding principals’ mobility decisions. Based on the research, NASSP and LPI will develop policy recommendations for states, districts, and schools to support and retain high-quality school leaders.

The first two briefs in the research initiative are now available! The third brief—which will incorporate results of a principal turnover survey from current principals—will be released later this year, along with final comprehensive report with policy recommendations. Download the NASSP-LPI Research Partnership FAQ to learn more.

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Research Briefs

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Understanding and Addressing Principal Turnover

Principals are vital for ensuring student success and play a major role in retaining effective teachers. Principal turnover can therefore be disruptive to school progress, often resulting in higher teacher turnover and ultimately lower gains in student achievement. Explore which schools are most vulnerable to principal turnover and five key strategies to reduce it in the first brief of the NASSP and LPI research agenda.

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Principal Turnover Insights from Current Principals

The second brief in the series draws on evidence from focus groups to better understand the challenges principals face and highlights ways to support principals and increase their retention. Focus group participants identified multiple strategies, including high-quality professional learning opportunities, support from strong administrative teams with adequate school-level resources, competitive salaries, appropriate decision-making authority, and evaluations characterized by timely and formative feedback.

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Research Brief 3

NASSP and LPI are currently surveying 1,500 principals to inform the third brief in the research series.

Final Report

NASSP and LPI will release a compilation of the findings with recommendations for how policymakers can create legislation to support and retain high-quality school leaders.