Hiring practices in high performing schools

David, Sandra Garbowicz, dissertant

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  • Creator by Sandra Garbowicz David
  • Format Books
  • Publication [Madison, Wis.] : [University of Wisconsin--Madison], 2016.
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (ix, 212 pages) : illustrations (some color)
  • OCLC ocn948520970


  • Abstract Hiring Practices in High Performing Schools Highly effective teachers have a greater impact on student achievement than any other factor controlled by school systems. Unfortunately, schools don’t always hire the most effective teachers. Results of research surrounding teacher-hiring practices indicate that practices are inconsistent, very little training is required or given before educational leaders are asked to hire new staff, and the decisions about who to hire are often influenced by factors other than student achievement. Absent from the literature is research on characteristics of hiring practices in high performing schools and the role cognitive decision-making plays within that process. This case study adds to the literature by investigating two major questions: (1) In what ways does the design and implementation of the hiring process support or impede the ability of a school principal to hire desirable teacher candidates? (2) What are the characteristics of decision-making tendencies used during the process of hiring teachers? This study utilized research of behavioral decision-making, specifically cognitive biases and heuristics to conceptualize how decisions within hiring processes are made by educational leaders. Seven elementary schools in Wisconsin were identified through the Wisconsin State Report Card. This study used information and documentation gathered from hiring protocols, semi-structured interviews, and the results from an online survey. The multi-case study design attempted to examine whether differences in hiring practices could explain differences in student learning outcomes. While the study did not find a relationship between hiring practices and student learning in high performing, versus average performing schools, there were patterns across the seven schools in hiring processes and practices that suggest a need for additional professional learning and development in the area of hiring teachers. Principals in the seven schools relied on cognitive biases and heuristics that in some cases strengthen, and in other cases undermine the hiring of high quality teachers.


  • Advisor: Carolyn J. Kelley.
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin--Madison 2016.
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 176-185).