The cross-cultural validity of the Learning-Centered Leadership framework and its assessment instrument for principals

Xiu Chen Cravens (Peabody College of Education and Human Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 28 January 2014



The purpose of this paper is to select a theoretical framework for effective school leadership that is connected with research, standards and current practices in the USA, and examine its validity and generalizability cross-culturally.


The paper uses both qualitative and quantitative methods through expert panel evaluation, cognitive interviews, and field testing of the instrument. The author asks: How well does the Learning-Centered Leadership (LCL) framework align with the professional standards and current practices of principals in urban Chinese schools in the opinion of the experts? Is there evidence that its leadership assessment instrument has construct validity in Chinese urban schools based on the re-examination of its content and measurement criteria? And is there evidence that the instrument is yielding consistent results when taken by the intended participants? How effective are the analytic strategies employed by this study in detecting the equivalences and discrepancies in how educational leadership is defined and evaluated, between two vastly different educational systems?


The paper finds evidences that give support to the claim that there is strong cross-cultural alignment on the overarching goal of improving student learning. However, the US framework and assessment will need to be modified to reflect the Chinese reform priorities that emphasize the balance between academic and social learning.


The belief that there are common elements in contemporary international educational policy has brought growing interest in sharing leadership theories and successful models cross-culturally. This paper addresses the challenges in understanding the complexity of cross-cultural translation of theories and applications, and explores viable solutions to meaningful adaptation.



Chen Cravens, X. (2014), "The cross-cultural validity of the Learning-Centered Leadership framework and its assessment instrument for principals", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 52 No. 1, pp. 2-36.

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