Book Review

Measuring Leadership: A Guide to Assessment for Development of School Executives


Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger,
Professor of Leadership and Technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.

 

The mercurial quality of leadership is as difficult to define as it is to teach. For half a century diagnostic tests of various cognitive abilities have been used to evaluate candidates for leadership positions in business, government and education.

In Measuring Leadership: A Guide to Assessment for Development of School Executives, Larry Lashway has produced a how-to text for those concerned with school leader selection, appraisal and training. Sponsored by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, this concise and readable book offers practical advice and prescribes appropriate resources to accomplish these ends.

Assessment is a complex and challenging endeavor, based on the Thorndikean premise that if something exists, it can be measured. Leadership may defy definition, but we think we know it when we see it. Lashway goes well beyond informal or intuitive appraisals to capture the elusive qualities of the prospective educational leader by assembling and analyzing an array of valid and reliable tests and benchmarks.

This brief volume is a work of synthesis, designed to report on existing literature rather than to create new theories. Nonetheless, it fills an important niche in the field of educational measurement and provides a valuable framework for analysis.

(Measuring Leadership: A Guide to Assessment for Development of School Executives, by Larry Lashway, ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, Eugene, Ore., 1999, 120 pp.)