McLay, Margaret and Brown, Marie (2003) Using concept mapping to evaluate the training of primary school leaders. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 6 (1). pp. 73-87. ISSN 1360-3124

This study focused on the technique of concept mapping as an alternative means of evaluating the compulsory module of the National Professional Qualification for Headship in the UK. The study was conducted on a cohort of primary school senior managers from the North of England between March and October 1999. The candidates, after an introduction to concept mapping were asked to construct their own maps at the beginning, middle and end of the module, based on the focus question of 'what are the essential characteristics of a successful headteacher' (the term 'headteacher' in the UK signifies a school principal, i.e. the most senior post in the school hierarchy). The initial maps showed varying degrees of presentation of the main concepts, ranging from those candidates who had the most experience of senior management, or who had completed a higher degree in some aspect of management, to those who had the least initial experience. The interim and final maps showed the greatest development of grasp of concept in those candidates who had started with the least experience of senior management. Interviews were also conducted with each candidate, asking them to comment on the development of their grasp of the concepts as the course developed. There was a high degree of connection between the concept maps and the interviews.

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