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Innovation in Educational Management and Leadership:

High Impact Competency for Malaysian School Leaders

By

Rosnarizah Abdul Halim


Amin Senin, PhD
Abdul Razak Manaf

Institute Aminuddin Baki


Ministry of Education Malaysia

Abstract

This study was aimed to identify the High Impact Competencies for Malaysian School
Leaders. An instrument named Instrumen Kompetensi Pemimpin Sekolah (KOMPAS©)
were developed for this study. KOMPAS consists of 26 competencies grouped into six
domain namely the ‘Policy and Direction’, ‘Instructional and Achievement’, ‘Change and
Innovation’, ‘People and Relationship’, ‘Resource and Operation‘ and ‘Personal and
Effectiveness’.Factor analysis was used to identify the structure of the instrument by using
the principal component extraction and varimax rotation. The α-Cronbach values for all the
items were above 0.95 thus shows that the instrument had a high reliability and validity. 596
head teachers and school principals throughout Malaysia had participated in this study in
order to identify their perception of their level of competency mastery and their level of
competency need. The respondents were selected through stratified systematic random
sampling. KOMPAS© was also administered to 140 officers in the Ministry of Education
(MOE), State Education Department (SED) as well as the District Education Department
(DED) throughout Malaysia. This served as a form of triangulation to identify which
competency the officers perceived as having future and strategic needs. Descriptive
statistic was used to describe the school leaders’ mastery and need while minimum
composite score was used to identify the high impact competencies. The result of the study
showed the overall level of competency mastery of the head teacher and principal were
moderate, while the officers in the MOE, SED and DED gave a high value of future and
strategic need for each competency. This study also identified the following competencies
as high impact competencies for Malaysian School Leaders; 1)Managing Change, 2)
Quality Focus, 3) Managing of ICT 4) Decision Making 5) Problem Solving 6) Performance
Management 7) School Improvement and 8) Capacity Building.

Keywords: Educational Leadership, Competency

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1. Introduction

Training and development of school leaders and school effectiveness had always catches

the eyes of researchers and policy makers and had created a polemic in finding suitable

training program for educational leaders (Anderson, 1991; Hanapiah, 1980; Hussein, 2007;

Ibrahim, 2007; Leithwood, 1995; and Olson, 2007). Research showed that leadership

training has no direct relationship with school effectiveness since what was learned in

university or training institutes would not be able to cater the real need in school leadership

and management (Amin & Abdul Razak, 2008; Leithwood, Begley and Cousins, 1994;

Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy, 1993). However, there were researches that support the ideas

that leadership training able to enhance and develop the knowledge, skill and attitude of

school leaders as well as future leaders (Bush, 1998; Nur Anuar & Faridah, 2006; Ruhaya,

Rosnarizah & Shariffah, 2006).

As the National Institute for Educational Leadership and Management, Institut Aminuddin

Baki (IAB) was commissioned to create and develop remarkable school leaders through

training and development. In line with this mandate, IAB was in constant effort to enhance

and improve its training program. Focus was given toward continuous professional

development for school leaders. In year 2008 IAB had introduces the Managing Educational

Leadership Talent (MELT) which focuses on the elements of continuous training and

development. MELT consists of five important elements that interconnected and related to

one another: Growth Oriented Training and Development (Khair, 2007), High Impact

Training and Development Initiatives (HITI), Leadership Competency Assessment (LCA),

School Leadership Competency (SLC) and its output which is the High Impact School

Leadership. The relationship of the five elements in MELT is shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Managing Educational Leadership Talent Framework

GOTD is the core of MELT and serve as input for HITI as well as LCA. HITI and LCA are two

approaches employed by IAB to carry out GOTD hence translate the output of MELT into

High Impact School Leaders (HISL). However, the hub of every processes involve in MELT

is the School Leadership Competency (SLC). It is therefore, imperative for IAB to develop

the SLC in order to materialize this framework.

The School Leadership Competency was derived from an elaborate study on the trend of

educational leaderships’ traits. MacBeath (2004) had identified 25 leadership traits relevant

to the management and leadership practices in schools. A thorough review of literature

showed that the leadership traits were known by its adjective expressions such as

instructional, participative, democratic, strategic and transformational. These labels

compliment the differences in leadership traits and methodology in achieving two main

objectives in effective organization which is organization goal setting and influencing

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members towards the achieving the organizational goal (Leithwood et al, 2004). This

extensive review of literature produced the High Impact School Leadership Model which

encompasses six leadership traits: personal leadership, managerial leadership, instructional

leadership, transformational leadership, distributed leadership and value-based leadership

as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: High Impact School Leadership Model

The competencies of each leadership traits were scrutinize and analyze into a generic

competency suitable to the educational leadership and management in Malaysia. The

analysis yield 26 competencies and were grouped into six domains which is Policy and

Direction, Instructional and Achievement, Managing Change and Innovation, People and

Relationship, Resources and Operation and Personal Effectiveness (Figure 3).

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Figure 3: The Competencies of Malaysian School Leaders

2. Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to identify the High Impact Competencies for Malaysian

School Leaders.

3. Objective of the Study

3.1. To identify the current proficiency level of competency perceived by the school

leaders,

3.2. To identify the current need of competency perceived by the school leaders,

3.3. To identify which competency has future growth as perceived by the Ministry, State

and District Educational Leaders,

3.4. To identify which competency is strategically important as perceived by the Ministry,

State and District Educational Leaders,

3.5. To identify the high impact competencies needed by school leaders.

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4. Operational Definition

4.1. Competency refers to the combining element of knowledge, skills and personal

attributes needed to perform certain task and responsibility.

4.2. School leader refers to the principal of secondary school and head teacher for

primary school.

4.3. Ministry, State and District Educational Leaders refer to educational leaders

currently serving in the Ministry of Education Malaysia, State and District

Educational Offices.

4.4. High Impact Competency refers to the composite analysis based on the responds by

the school leader, the Ministry, State and District Educational Leaders. The

composite score is shown in Table 1.

x + 0.5 σ High Impact Competency

x ± 0.5 σ Medium Impact Competency

x - 0.5 σ Low Impact Competency

Table 1: Composite Score of High Impact Competency

5. Methodology

This research employs descriptive quantitative methodology. The data collection was

conducted through a survey method and was administered to the respondent without any

manipulation on the subject. A cross sectional approaches were used to get the data.

6. Population and Sampling

The population of school leaders in Malaysia was 10,058 (Educational Planning and

Research Department, 2006). Proportionate systematic random sampling was used for

sampling selection in order to have representative in each state in Malaysia. Though the

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minimum number of sample required is 370 (Krejcie and Morgan, 1970), we had selected

801 respondents to ensure that the data is adequate.

7. Data Collection Procedure

There were three phases involve which is the field test, pilot test and actual data collection.

The field test was conducted in order to get feedbacks on the instrument used in the survey.

Five school leaders were chosen and were asked to response on the appropriate wordings,

number of items and the overall instruction in the instrument. The instrument was then

reviewed based on their feedbacks. The pilot testing was conducted in the month of

February and Mac 2008. Fifty school leaders were involved in the test. They were mainly the

participant in Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB). To ensure high rate of return, the data collection

was made through a half day colloquium session in IAB Genting Highlands and IAB Northern

Branch in Jitra, Kedah as well as in Sabah and Sarawak. The instrument were collectedat

the end of the colloquium.

8. Instrument

Instrument Kompetensi Pemimpin Sekolah (KOMPAS©) is a self assess instrument, whereby

the respondents have to give honest responds on their proficiency and needs for each item.

KOMPAS© was developed through several stages, which is constructing the item, validating

the instrument and pilot testing and reliability of the instrument.

8.1. Items Construction

The development of KOMPAS© was based upon 26 competencies in the Competencies

of the Malaysian School Leaders as shown in Figure 3. For each competency three to

five items were constructed. Altogether there were 110 items constructed. KOMPAS©

was distributed to five school leaders for field test. Based on their feedbacks one item

had been dropped and modifications were made to several items to make it clear and

more comprehensible.

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8.2. Validating the Instrument

The opinion of three distinguished expert in educational leadership and management

were seek for content validity of the instrument. The experts were two full professors

and a senior lecturer from two universities in Malaysia. The input from the experts were

used to improve the instrument.

8.3. Pilot testing and reliability of Instrument

The feedback received from fifty school leaders who had participated in the pilot testing

shows that KOMPAS© was appropriate and easy to answer. Most of the participants

were able to complete the instrument within 30 minutes. The value of α-Cronbach for all

the items were above 0.96 thus shows that the instrument had a high reliability and

validity (Nunnally, 1978).

8.4. Data Collection

596 head teachers and school principals throughout Malaysia had participated in this

study in order to identify their perception of their level of competency proficiency and

their level of competency need. KOMPAS© was also administered to 140 officers in the

Ministry of Education (MOE), State Education Department (SED) as well as the District

Education Department (DED) throughout Malaysia. This served as a form of triangulation

to identify which competency the officers perceived as having future and strategic needs.

Descriptive statistic was used to describe the school leaders’ proficiency and need while

minimum composite score was used to identify the high impact competencies.

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9. Findings

9.1. Objective 1: To identify the current proficiency level of competency perceived

by the school leaders

Figure 4: Mean of Competency Proficiency Level of School Leaders

9.2. Objective 2: To identify the current need of competency perceived by the

school leaders

Figure 5: Mean of Competency Need of School Leaders

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9.3. Objective 3: To identify which competency has future growth as perceived by

the Ministry, State and District Educational Leaders

Figure 6: Mean of Competency’s Future Growth Perceived by the Ministry, State and
District Educational Leaders

9.4. Objective 4: To identify which competency is strategically important as

perceived by the Ministry, State and District Educational Leaders

Figure 7: Mean of Competency’s Strategic Needs Perceived by the Ministry, State and
District Educational Leaders

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9.5. Objective 5: To identify the high impact competencies needed by school

leaders.

9.5.1. Composite Score of High Impact Competency for Head Teacher

 
Mean= 62.5

Figure 8: Mean of Composite High Impact Competency for Head Teacher

(Mean: 62.5)

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9.5.2. Composite Score of High Impact Competency for Principal

Mean= 62.7
 

Figure 9: Mean of Composite High Impact Competency for Principal

(Mean: 62.7)

10. Discussion

The result of the study showed the overall level of competency proficiency of the
school leaders were moderate (Figure 4) with total mean of 3.74 (Appendix 1). The
overall competency needs of the school leaders were moderate with total mean of
3.60 (Appendix 2). Analysis on the responses by the Ministry, State and District
educational officers showed a high value of future and strategic need for each
competency (Figure 6 & 7). Figure 10 shows the composite analysis of proficiency,
need, strategic need and future growth based on the domain of competencies. The
analysis showed that there is a gap of what expected by the stakeholder as
compared to the need of the school leaders. The gap could only be narrowed by
continuous professional development either by IAB or other training provider.

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Figure 10: Mean of Domain of Competency
Based on Competency Proficiency, Need, Strategic and Future Growth

Figure 8 shows the composite score of high impact competency for head teachers.
The high impact competencies for head teachers were Managing Change, Managing
ICT, Quality Focus, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Implementing School
Improvement and Capacity Development. The high impact competencies for school
principasl were Managing Change, Managing ICT, Quality Focus, Decision Making,
Problem Solving and Performance Management (Figure 9). Figure 11 shows a Venn
diagram of the high impact competencies for Malaysian School Leaders.

Principal Head Teacher

Change Management
Quality Focus Implementing School
Performance Managing ICT Improvement
Management Decision Making Capacity
Problem solving Development

Figure 10: High Impact Competency for Principal and Head Teacher

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11. Implication

Reaserch and development (R&D) is a valued approach in field outside of education

(Hallinger, 2009), Among the steps used in most R&D’s are 1) identified a problem, 2)

sought information through synthesis and new research, 3) developed tools that applied

knowledge, 4) use in practice, 5) evaluate result 6) improve tools and contribute back to

knowledge. The study had indeed completed two cycles of R&D and able to provide

important data for stakeholder in planning an accurate training and development program

for school leaders.

IAB had taken a step further in intensifying the uses of KOMPAS© among the school

leaders by developing the application online. With the help of IAB’s own system

programmer KOMPAS© is now accessible through www.iab.edu.my/kompas. School

leaders are able to assess their competency proficiency and need based on the result

obtain immediately after administering the instrument. They are also able to plan for their

own professional development either by attending courses in IAB or by other training

institutes. Beginning 2009, IAB had launch 53 high impact courses based on the eight high

impact competencies shown in Figure 10. A continuous review will be made towards

updating KOMPAS© as the competency of the school leaders is generic in nature and

might vary in time.

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Appendix 1

Mean of the Malaysian School Leaders Competency Proficiency

Competencies Mean

Vision Building 3.88


Quality Focus 3.50
Strategic Thinking 3.71
Proactive 3.88
Achievement Performance Orientation 3.98
Instructional Development 3.83
Knowledge Sharing 3.74
Curriculum Focus 3.84
Supervision 3.71
Problem-Solving 3.60
Decision Making 3.51
Managing Change 3.30
Implementing School Improvement 3.59
Creativity and Innovation 3.71
Financial Management 3.78
Physical and Asset Management 3.76
ICT Management 3.51
Performance Management 3.63
Capacity Development 3.64
Communication 3.88
Relationship Building 3.70
Teamwork 3.92
Self Awareness 3.98
Social Awareness 3.92
Self Management 3.84
Social Management 3.81
Total Mean 3.74

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Appendix 2

Mean of the Malaysian School Leaders Competency Need

Competencies Mean

Vision Building 3.35


Quality Focus 3.74
Strategic Thinking 3.60
Proactive 3.43
Achievement Performance Orientation 3.51
Instructional Development 3.62
Knowledge Sharing 3.66
Curriculum Focus 3.63
Supervision 3.61
Problem-Solving 3.71
Decision Making 3.71
Managing Change 3.85
Implementing School Improvement 3.73
Creativity and Innovation 3.64
Financial Management 3.72
Physical and Asset Management 3.52
ICT Management 3.83
Performance Management 3.64
Capacity Development 3.65
Communication 3.51
Relationship Building 3.46
Teamwork 3.53
Self Awareness 3.50
Social Awareness 3.44
Self Management 3.43
Social Management 3.57
Total Mean 3.60

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Appendix 3

Mean of the School Leaders’ Competency baded on Strategic and Future Need
Perceived by the Ministerial, State, District Educational Officers

Mean
Competencies Strategic
Future Need
Need
Vision Building 4.73 4.53
Quality Focus 4.73 4.49
Strategic Thinking 4.67 4.47
Proactive 4.74 4.57
Achievement Performance Orientation 4.77 4.57
Instructional Development 4.77 4.58
Knowledge Sharing 4.73 4.54
Curriculum Focus 4.81 4.62
Supervision 4.72 4.53
Problem-Solving 4.69 4.46
Decision Making 4.71 4.44
Managing Change 4.66 4.38
Implementing School Improvement 4.69 4.38
Creativity and Innovation 4.74 4.48
Financial Management 4.77 4.56
Physical and Asset Management 4.67 4.44
ICT Management 4.65 4.52
Performance Management 4.64 4.47
Capacity Development 4.66 4.51
Communication 4.70 4.53
Relationship Building 4.67 4.47
Teamwork 4.74 4.55
Self Awareness 4.70 4.58
Social Awareness 4.66 4.53
Self Management 4.65 4.50
Social Management 4.67 4.57
Total Mean 4.70 4.51

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Appendix 4

Mean of Domain of Competency


Based on Competency Proficiency, Need, Strategic and Future Growth

Mean
Domain of Competenc
Competencies Competen Stategic Future
y
cy Need Need Growth
Proficiency

Policy & Direction 3.54 3.75 4.72 4.51

Instructional &
3.61 3.82 4.73 4.52
Achievement
Change &
3.73 3.55 4.74 4.55
Innovation
Resource &
3.68 3.67 4.75 4.56
Operation
People &
3.54 3.79 4.77 4.58
Relationship
Personal
3.49 4.05 4.75 4.57
Effectiveness

Total Mean 3.60 3.74 4.74 4.55

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