Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version



Published in Leadership and Policy In Schools 17:4 (2018), pp 618–646.

doi 10.1080/15700763.2017.1384500


Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Scaling up innovation in the instructional core remains a vexing proposition. Such disruptive innovations require teachers to engage in performance adaptation. Schools vary in their capacity to support changes in teachers’ day-today work. By comparing distributed instructional leadership practices of “odds-beating” schools with those at “typically performing schools,” this study identified four qualities of distributed instructional leadership that drive teacher performance adaptation: collective goal setting, instructional feedback, collective guided learning, and trusting relationships. These findings reiterate the need for policy to go beyond standards and accountability mandates to focus on the right drivers of change: capacity building, and opportunities for collaboration in tandem with pedagogical improvement.