Date of Award

Summer 8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rose McNeese

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. Gary Peters

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

School principals have the daunting task of improving their schools and ensuring that student performance increases. Many principals are using their understanding of leadership and culture to transform their schools in order to provide high-performing educational services. The primary purpose of this study was to increase the understanding of those middle school cultures that do in fact, facilitate student performance and achievement.

This study was conducted using information from middle schools in three southeastern states, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Teachers completed a 35-question school culture questionnaire designed by Dr. Jerry Valentine. Three research questions were proposed and answered through the use of the questionnaire, which was completed by 415 teachers from 47 middle schools among the three states.

The research study was guided by the following questions: 1) Is there a relationship between Valentine's six factors (collaborative leadership, teacher collaboration, professional development, collegial support, unity of purpose, and learning partnerships) and student performance? 2) Do Valentine's six factors of school culture (collaborative leadership, teacher collaboration, professional development, collegial support, unity of purpose, and learning partnerships) predict AYP outcomes? 3) Do Valentine's six factors of school culture (collaborative leadership, teacher collaboration, professional development, collegial support, unity of purpose, and learning partnerships) predict the state-level school accreditation status of a school?

Based on these guided questions, three hypotheses were tested using a multiple regression analysis, a binary logistical regression, and a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The statistical analyses examined the relationships between Valentine's six factors of school culture and student performance, AYP status, and state-level accreditation factors. There was not a significant relationship between the factors of school culture and student performance. The regression analysis was conducted to determine if the six factors of school culture predict AYP outcomes in schools. The analysis did not predict the school's AYP target. The MANOVA was conducted to determine if there was a difference between the state-level accreditation factors on the six factors of school culture. The MANOVA did not reveal a difference. Thus, all three hypotheses were rejected.

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