Date of Award

Spring 2-2-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


David Reid, PhD

Committee Member

Roger Ball, PhD

Committee Member

Albert Galloway, PhD


efficacy, self-efficacy, comprehensive school, data-driven, school culture


Leadership plays an important role in determining organizational culture and maintaining a commitment to the collective goal. Leaders not only play a critical role in developing and implementing policies to direct an organization toward a goal, but also serve as role models for those with whom they work. Research has shown that relationships between principals and teachers are critical to impact teaching practices, school climate, and students positively, yet these relationships can affect student learning and achievement.

Research has also shown that students’ overall performance in school and any decrease in their overall achievement data are directly related to teacher self-efficacy (Hoy & Hoy, 2009). Prior to the designation of underperforming, a school’s data indicated academic deficits for 3 years or more. The public identifier as targeted and/or comprehensive may have further implications of reduced teacher and principal efficacy.

The purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to explore principals’ perceptions about collective efficacy in urban K-8 schools in New Jersey designated for the school improvement process. Principals’ responses to the research question and sub-questions guided this study:

1. What are principals’ perceptions of community collective efficacy as a means towards school improvement?

a. How do principals describe the value/possibility of community collective efficacy?

b. How do principals describe the challenges of community collective efficacy?

Collective efficacy in schools identified as in need of improvement is critical to enhancing student achievement. Significant findings revealed that collective efficacy contributes to improved student outcomes and can be fostered by effective leadership strategies. Teacher collective efficacy has also been shown to have a positive effect on the school environment for all parties involved in the educational process. Recommendations for districts included implementation of professional development, research-based and targeted interventions, and efficacious practices directly related to school improvement. Policy recommendations are relevant to teacher and leadership programs, including effectiveness and cultural programs.

An avenue of future research is the investigation of whether increasing the DEI initiatives of K-12 schools leads to differences in student self-efficacy and teacher self-efficacy, which would, in turn, impact collective efficacy. An interesting concept is the idea that collective efficacy promotes inclusion. Recommendations for practice include an early warning indicator evaluative structure to support principals and schools at risk of being identified as in need of improvement.

Keywords: efficacy, self-efficacy, comprehensive school, failing schools, principal perception, data-driven, school improvement, stigmatized, underperforming, school culture