Credibility in Instructional Supervision: A Catalyst for Differentiated Supervision

  • Chad R. LochmillerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Leadership and Learning in Teacher Education book series (PSLLTE)


This chapter represents an initial attempt to define credibility as it relates to instructional supervision in ninth through twelfth grade. The study aimed to determine how differences in the definitions held by administrators and teachers necessitate differentiation in an administrator’s supervisory practice. Findings suggest that credibility is more often rooted in expertise and experience than in relational conditions established by school leaders or a leader’s positional authority. Indeed, one of its most important conclusions from this study is that classroom teachers and school administrators defined credibility differently within the context of instructional supervision and that these differences may necessitate differentiation in supervisory systems and practices, including those related to teacher performance evaluation. Implications for future research are discussed as are possible reforms for leadership preparation.


  1. Ashford, S. J., De Stobbeleir, K., & Nujella, M. (2016). To seek or not to seek: Is that the only question? Recent developments in feedback-seeking literature. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 3, 213–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beach, D. M., & Reinhartz, J. (2000). Supervisory leadership: Focus on instruction. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  3. Cobb, P., & Jackson, K. (2011). Towards an empirically grounded theory of action for improving the quality of mathematics teaching at scale. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13(1), 6–33.Google Scholar
  4. Falcione, R. L. (1973). Relationship of supervisor credibility to subordinate satisfaction. The Personnel Journal, 52(9), 800–803.Google Scholar
  5. Falcione, R. L. (1974). Credibility: Qualifier of subordinate participation. Journal of Business Communication, 11(3), 43–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Finn, A. N., Schrodt, P., Witt, P. L., Elledge, N., Jernberg, K. A., & Larson, L. M. (2009). A meta-analytical review of teacher credibility and its associations with teacher behaviors and student outcomes. Communication Education, 58(4), 516–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gamoran, A., Anderson, C. W., Quiroz, P. A., Secada, W. G., Williams, T., & Ashmann, S. (2003). Transforming teaching in math and science: How schools and districts can support change. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  8. Giffin, K. (1967). The contribution of studies of source credibility to a theory of interpersonal trust in the communication process. Psychological Bulletin, 68(2), 104–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Glanz, J., & Zepeda, S. J. (2016). Supervision: New perspectives for theory and practice. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  10. Glatthorn, A. A. (1984). Differentiated supervision. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).Google Scholar
  11. Glickman, C. D. (1981). Developmental supervision. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).Google Scholar
  12. Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P., & Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2012). The basic guide to supervision and instructional leadership. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Higher Ed.Google Scholar
  13. Gordon, S. P. (2005). Standards for instructional supervision: Enhancing teaching and learning. Larchmont: Eye on Education.Google Scholar
  14. Gutierrez, R. (2012). Mathematics – Beyond the achievement gap: What it takes to become an effective leader in mathematics for marginalized youth. In G. Theoharis & J. S. Brooks (Eds.), What every principals needs to know to create equitable and excellent schools (pp. 31–53). New York: Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
  15. Halverson, R., Feinstein, N. R., & Meshoulam, D. (2011). School leadership for science education. In G. E. DeBoer (Ed.), The role of public policy in K-12 science education (pp. 397–430). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Hatch, T., Eiler White, M., & Faigenbaum, D. (2005). Expertise, credibility, and influence: How teachers can influence policy, advance research, and improve performance. Teachers College Record, 107(5), 1004–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hill, H. C. (2010). The nature and predictors of elementary teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 41(5), 513–545.Google Scholar
  18. Hitt, D. H., & Tucker, P. D. (2016). Systematic review of key leader practices found to influence student achievement: A unified framework. Review of Educational Research, 86(2), 531–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hovland, C. I., Janis, I. L., & Kelley, H. H. (1953). Communication and persuasion. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Knapp, M. S., & Plecki, M. L. (2001). Investing in the renewal of urban science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(10), 1089–1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  22. Lochmiller, C. R. (2015). Exploring principal leadership for math and science. Journal of School Leadership, 25(1), 24–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lochmiller, C. R. (2016). Examining administrators’ instructional feedback to high school math and science teachers. Educational Administration Quarterly, 52(1), 75–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lochmiller, C. R., & Acker-Hocevar, M. (2016). Making sense of principal leadership in content areas: The case of secondary math and science instruction. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 15(3), 273–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lochmiller, C. R., Huggins, K. S., & Acker-Hocevar, M. A. (2012). Preparing leaders for math and science: Three alternatives to traditional preparation. Planning & Changing, 43(1), 198–220.Google Scholar
  26. Lowenhaupt, R. J., & McNeill, K. L. (2017, April 27–May 1). Supervision in context: Instructional leadership for K-8 science. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio.Google Scholar
  27. Nelson, B. S., & Sassi, A. (2000). Shifting approaches to supervision: The case of mathematics supervision. Educational Administration Quarterly, 36(4), 553–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Podsakoff, P. M., & Farh, J. L. (1989). Effects of feedback sign and credibility on goal setting and task performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 44(1), 45–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Posner, B. Z., & Kouzes, J. M. (1988). Relating leadership and credibility. Psychological Reports, 63(2), 527–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ramsey, R. D. (1992). Secondary principal’s survival guide: Practical techniques & materials for successful school administration. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Direct.Google Scholar
  31. Rigby, J. G., Larbi-Sharif, A., Rosenquist, B. A., Sharpe, C. J., Cobb, P., & Smith, T. (2017). Administrator observation and feedback: Does it lead to improvement in inquiry-oriented math instruction? Educational Administration Quarterly, 53(3), 475–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rinehart, J. S., Short, P. M., Short, R. J., & Eckley, M. (1998). Teacher empowerment and principal leadership: Understanding the influence process. Educational Administration Quarterly, 34(1), 630–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shrigley, R. L. (1976). Credibility of the elementary science methods instruction as perceived by students: A model for attitude modification. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 13, 449–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shrigley, R. L. (1980). Science supervisor characteristics that influence their credibility with elementary school teachers. Journal of Science Teaching, 17(2), 161–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spillane, J. (2005). Primary school leadership practice: How the subject matters. School Leadership and Management, 25(4), 383–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Steele, M. D., Johnson, K. R., Otten, S., Herbel-Eisenmann, B. A., & Carver, C. A. (2015). Improving instructional leadership the development of leadership content knowledge: The case of principal learning in algebra. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 10(2), 127–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Steelman, L. A., & Rutkowski, K. A. (2004). Moderators of employee reactions to negative feedback. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 19(1), 6–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Steelman, L. A., Levy, P. E., & Snell, A. F. (2004). The feedback environment scale: Construct definition, measurement, and validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64(1), 165–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stein, M. K., & Nelson, B. S. (2003). Leadership content knowledge. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25(4), 423–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sullivan, S., & Glanz, J. (2009). Supervision that improves teaching and learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.Google Scholar
  42. Teven, J. J. (2007). Teacher caring and classroom behavior: Relationships with student affect and perceptions of teacher competence and trustworthiness. Communication Quarterly, 55(4), 433–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tormala, Z. L., Brinol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2006). When credibility attacks: The reverse impact of source credibility on persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(5), 684–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tuytens, M., & Devos, G. (2011). Stimulating professional learning through teacher evaluation: An impossible task for the school leader? Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(5), 891–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zepeda, S. J. (2012). Instructional supervision: Applying tools and concepts. Larchmont: Eye on Education.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations