Book Review

School Leadership That Works

by Robert J. Marzano, Timothy Waters and Brian A. McNulty,Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2005, 192 pp. with index, $27.95 softcover

School leaders who appreciate Robert Marzano's ability to simplify and apply his research in practical ways to tackle everyday problems faced by educators will not be disappointed with his latest book, School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results, written with co-authors Timothy Waters and Brian McNulty. For any superintendents, principals or educational administration professors who have ever wanted verification that, indeed, school leadership matters, this book offers research-based validation.

Using meta-analysis to synthesize 69 studies conducted over 35 years that involved 2,802 schools, approximately 1.4 million students and 14,000 teachers, Marzano, Waters and McNulty computed the correlation between principal leadership behavior and the average academic achievement of students. The good news, they say, is that their findings indicate "a highly effective school leader can have a dramatic influence on the overall academic achievement of students."
The authors present their conclusions as 21 leadership responsibilities, what they call "general rules or principles of behavior to guide [school leaders] in specific situations."

Finally, the authors organize their findings, Marzano's past research and other leadership/change theories into a five-step plan for effective leadership. This plan includes distributing some responsibilities to team members and matching the degree of the change to appropriate leadership behaviors.

School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results might be an excellent choice for a book study for an administrative team.

Reviewed by Judith A. Zimmerman, assistant professor of educational administration and leadership studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio