Relationship of Principal's Leadership Behaviors to Academic Achievement and School Improvement Efforts
King, Betty Williams
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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: RELATIONSHIP OF PRINCIPAL'S LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT EFFORTS Betty Williams King, Doctor of Philosophy, 2006 Dissertation directed by: Professor Emeritus James Dudley Department of Education Policy and Leadership The purpose of this study was to compare the extent to which leadership behavior of principals differs in schools at risk for reconstitution and in schools judged as meeting state standards; and to determine the extent to which principals in these schools employ frame utilization strategies for school improvement as designed by Bolman and Deal (1992a). The sample population for the study was randomly selected by the school district's Division of Research Evaluation Assessment and Accountability (DREAA). Ten schools were selected to participate in the study: five schools labeled "at risk" and five schools "making adequate progress." Data collection was performed in 2006. The Leadership Orientation Survey designed by Bolman and Deal (1990) was distributed to principals, immediate supervisors of the principals, teachers, parents, and community representatives who serve on the School Improvement Team (SIT) in each school. The survey measured the extent to which leaders use four frames of leadership: structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. Cronbach alpha, a measure of inter-item reliability, was computed for each of the four frames. All were .75 or higher, indicating that the survey was reliable. Inter-scale correlations were computed for schools making adequate progress and for schools at risk. The correlations for teachers, parents, and community representatives for both school groups were strong and statistically significant, most in the .75 to .95 range. For principals and supervisors, the results of the correlational analysis were mixed. Some correlations were strong and statistically significant, .80 to .95, and others were weak and in some cases negative. This may be due primarily to the small number of principals in the study, four in each group of schools. The same limitation was true for supervisors, where there were five in each group of schools. A correlation is a measure of a linear relationship between two variables. It can range from -1.00 to +1.00. The results of the statistical analysis of the three research questions using independent t-tests indicated that for principals, supervisors, teachers, parents, and community representatives, there were almost no statistically significant differences in the use of the four frames for the schools making adequate progress or for the schools at risk. All of the means indicated that the principals were judged to often use the different frames. The only exception was the human resource frame, where there was a statistically significant difference favoring principals in the schools making adequate progress. The demographics information indicated that the most qualified professionals were found in the schools making adequate progress.