Since the 2000s there has been a growing global interest in policies that redefine, support, and monitor school leadership roles. Despite this, research knowledge on the international use of school leadership standards is limited, specifically on its relationship to various role demands (or imperatives) of school administration. Drawing from data from the International Leadership Standards Study and Teaching and Learning International Survey, we performed a descriptive analysis of leadership standards through the lens of the four imperatives of school administration, i.e., managerial, instructional, moral, and socio-political. The findings indicate that the seemingly unified emerging global phenomenon of standards policy for school leaders is more diverse than frequently argued with the focus on various imperatives. At the same time they reveal a broad consensus among countries promoting standards on managerial aspects as well as isomorphism and detachment of policy from practice in several contexts. The study expands the knowledge base on the international adoption of the school leadership standards policy and its interrelations with the imperatives of school administration.


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