Research and Development

The research base for School ADvance is extensive and continuously updated.  The performance assessment rubrics and other elements of the School ADvance performance development system are grounded in theories and concepts that span a wide range of topics including:


  • Characteristics of effective school and district level leaders

  • Transformative and distributed leadership

  • Adult learning

  • Personal and systems change

  • Characteristics of effective performance assessment and feedback

  • Adaptive schools and learning organizations

  • Appreciative leadership and inquiry

  • Implementation fidelity and integrity


Dr. Reeves and Ms. Patricia McNeill developed the Domains, Factors, and Characteristics used to shape the performance assessment rubrics based on their meta review of extant leadership frameworks and standards and the research studies that inform those frameworks and standards.  The rubrics are further informed by data from practicing school leaders and the work of Dr. Reeves and Ms. McNeill in the field.  With colleagues at Western Michigan University, Dr. Reeves has served on several grants funded by the Wallace Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education to examine specific aspects of school leadership.  The findings from these funded projects also inform the School ADvance system.  The authors want to acknowledge Dr. Jianping Shen and, the late, Dr. Van Cooley for their leadership on these grant funded projects and their contributions to the research base for School ADvance.

The School ADvance approach and processes for conducting growth focused performance assessment are based on six common features that align with the research on adult learning and personal change. Dr. Patricia Reeves and Dr. George Aramath developed the six guiding principles for designing performance evaluation and feedback systems that support learning, growth, and adaptation based on a two-year meta-analysis of the literature on performance assessment and feedback.

Dr. Reeves and Ms. McNeill are also experienced school administrators who each served for over two decades as school administrators in Michigan. Both added to their extensive experience as educational leaders by working with leadership development programs for MASA and Michigan ASCD and Dr. Reeves continues to work with school leaders in the field through the High Impact Leadership project at Western Michigan University where she serves as professor of Educational Leadership and Research.