The relationship between principals' instructional focus and academic achievement of high poverty students

Aste, Mahri, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, James, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Henig, Cheryl, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Burbach, Harold, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between teacher perceptions of the frequency and effectiveness of principal instructional leadership behaviors and student achievement in high-poverty elementary schools. In order to accomplish the purpose, survey methodology was employed. Teachers from six high poverty elementary schools in a large suburban school system were sent the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale which assessed perceptions of the principal's frequency and effectiveness in five instructional leadership behavior dimensions. Two hundred forty eight (72%) teachers responded to the survey. The schools had populations of 60% or more qualifying for free or reduced cost meals. The researcher used both descriptive and inferential statistics to report data from participants' survey responses. The survey contained 22 questions that were assigned to five dimensions of principal instructional management.

Step-wise multiple regression analysis was employed to answer the research questions. The data analysis revealed that principal frequency in instructional activities in the five dimensions of instructional leadership accounted for 19% of the variability in reading achievement. Perceptions of principal effectiveness in the five dimensions accounted for 22% of the variance in reading achievement. The principal's frequency and effectiveness in the five instructional leadership dimensions each accounted for 10% of the variance in math achievement. Implications for practitioners and recommendations for further research are also suggested.

These implications include applicability for principals to engage in specific instructional leadership behaviors and suggest frameworks for principal training. Recommendations for future research include: replicating the study in order to determine the reliability of the findings, examine the relationship between frequency and effectiveness of principal behaviors and achievement in schools that serve different student populations, replicate the study methodology using additional control variables, and employ different instruments to assess principal instructional leadership and student achievement.

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EDD (Doctor of Education)
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