Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: J. Mark Rainey
Doctor of Education
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: Principals’ Instructional Leadership in the Development of Curriculum and Meeting District/State Performance Goals
Dr. Van Cooley, Chair
Dr. Jianping Shen
Dr. Robert Hamet
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
3306 Sangren Hall
Abstract: The study focuses on the principals’ leadership and empowerment as curriculum leaders in meeting district and state mandated performance goals. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 represents a key increase in the role of the federal government in public education. NCLB established accountability testing in each of the 50 states. Principals’ leadership and its impact on student achievement have become an even more important topic.
The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) 1999-2000 was used for the study. The sample was 4,386 public school principals. The study has three research questions: (a) What were the levels of principals’ instructional leadership and empowerment; (b) Are principals’ level of instructional leadership and empowerment associated with number of years as teacher, number of years as principal, participation in an aspiring principal program, school size and school locale? (c) Are principals’ level of instructional leadership and empowerment related to whether or not the school is passing the district or state accountability tests, after considering school size and location?
As to principals’ leadership, principals reported that they had higher level leadership and empowerment in (a) developing in-service professional development; (b) deciding budget; (c) evaluating teachers, with a means of greater than 4.21 on a 5-point scale. However, their leadership and empowerment was lower in engaging in staff development and evaluation of curriculum and instruction development with mean of less than 2.90 on a 5-point scale.
As to the relationship between the principals’ leadership and their professional and school characteristics, I found that the principals’ number of years as a teacher prior to becoming principals and participating in aspiring principal program contributed positively to principals’ instructional leadership. As to empowerment, principals’ number of years as a teacher prior to becoming principals, participating in aspiring principal program, and number of years as a principal were all statistically significant, positive predictors at the elementary level, but not at the secondary level.
As to the relationship between the principals’ leadership and empowerment and whether their schools passing accountability test, I found that after considering school size and location at the secondary level, principals’ facilitating student learning was a statistically significant positive predictor for the schools’ passing accountability tests. At the elementary level, principals’ level of influence on establishing curriculum was a statistically significant positive predictor for the schools’ passing accountability tests.
As to the direction for future studies, additional longitudinal research should be conducted to provide evidence of a relationship between principals as instructional leaders and student achievement. Additional research studies should also be conducted on the chain of leadership from principals’ instructional leadership behaviors, to teachers’ teaching, and to student achievement.
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