Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Elaine M. Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lynn Sodat, Ph.D.

Keywords

Instructional leadership, Principal Leadership, Educational Leadership, Principal Tenure, Principal Experience, School Size, School Level

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between principal instructional leadership behaviors and student achievement in the context of low-performing Title I-eligible schools. The intent was to identify specific leadership behaviors that evidenced a relationship to improved student academic achievement in Virginia’s identified priority schools. Results of teacher surveys regarding principal tenure and experience and school size and level were analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics and simple regression models.

While results revealed no significant correlation between principal leadership behaviors and student achievement in English/Reading, a significant positive relationship was found between principal leadership behaviors and mathematics. The strongest relationship between leadership and mathematics achievement appeared to be associated with the principal’s high visibility, which supports the building of relationships among teachers and students. For example, principals would frequently be seen visiting classrooms and attending extra- and co-curricular activities. Additionally, this set of measured leadership behavior included complimenting teachers privately on their efforts or performance.

With regard to predictor variables, schools with smaller numbers of students tended to have greater student achievement in English/Reading and mathematics; schools in which principals had more experience as a principal tended to have greater student achievement in mathematics; schools in which principals were tenured longer tended to have lower student achievement in English/Reading and mathematics; and schools with higher grade levels tended to have greater student performance.

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