The convergent and divergent validity of the vanderbilt assessment of leadership in education (VAL-ED) instructional leadership and emotional intelligence

Ellen Goldring, Xiu Cravens, Andrew Porter, Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing dialog of whether and how instructional leadership is distinguished conceptually from general leadership notions, such as charisma, and to continue the ongoing psychometric research on the The Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED) by examining its convergent and divergent validity. The authors hypothesize that the VAL-ED will be highly correlated with another measure of instructional leadership, but will be weakly correlated with more general measures of leadership that are rooted in personality theories. To test the convergent validity the authors implement the Hallinger and Murphy (1985) Instructional Management Behavior of Principals (IMBP) inventory, (Hallinger and Murphy, 1985; Hallinger, 2011). The authors use an instrument for emotional intelligence, Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) as the divergent measure (Petrides et al., 2007). Results indicate that principals and teachers have different perceptions of leadership concepts. Design/methodology/approach - The sample of schools in this study included 63 schools, 47 elementary, seven middle, and nine high schools from eight districts in six states in the US correlational analyses and regression are implemented. Findings - The three sets of correlations from teacher responses about their principals among the three measures of the VAL-ED, TEIQue, and PIMRS (0.715, 0.686, and 0.642) are similar in size and all quite high. The picture is different for principals’ self-ratings, however. The VAL-ED is more strongly correlated (0.492) with PIMRS than with TEIQue (0.119), providing some evidence for convergent validity between learning-centered leadership and instructional management, and divergent validity when compared with emotional intelligence traits. The correlation between teachers and principals on the VAL-ED is only 0.17. Research limitations/implications - An interesting finding of this study is that principals can discriminate between instructional leadership measures and emotional traits when self rating, while teachers rate their principals similarly, and do not seem to discriminate between instructional leadership practices, as measured by the VAL-ED or PRIMS, and general traits associated with leadership effectiveness, as measured by the TEIQue. This paper discusses the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for both understanding the limitations of rating scales measuring instructional leadership, and their uses for evaluation purposes. Furthermore, teachers seem to perceive and understand these leadership traits differently than principals suggesting the need for training in how to use and interpret the results. Originality/value - Educator accountability has placed principal evaluation and assessment at the forefront of reform debates. There is limited research on 360 degree evaluation systems. Rating scales of principals’ instructional leadership, are being used for assessing principals’ strengths and weaknesses in making decisions about tenure, merit pay, and ongoing professional development. Given the significance of these decisions it is important to ensure that principal evaluation instruments are valid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-196
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 13 2015


  • Leadership
  • Performance appraisal
  • Performance management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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