This paper describes a rigorous process to develop and trial new metrics for measuring and codifying school leadership and management practices and processes that are considered theoretically related to literacy outcomes. The predictive validity of these measures is assessed in challenging contexts including 60 township and rural primary schools in South Africa. We observe a randomness to how better leadership and management practices are distributed across better and worse performing schools. Regression analyses confirm weak and inconsistent linkages between measured leadership and management dimensions and literacy outcomes across the sample. However, we find evidence of stronger linkages with intermediate outcomes, including evidence of curriculum coverage. This research contributes to a burgeoning, yet underdeveloped literature on educational management and leadership in Africa and the challenges of measurement in this context.