The relationship between special education teachers' perceptions of principal leadership behaviors and the achievement of students with disabilities

Margaret Elizabeth Constantino

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine special education teacher perceptions of principals' instructional leadership behaviors and students' academic achievement on the Georgia Comprehensive Criterion-Referenced Tests. The researcher sought to determine if a relationship between specific instructional leadership practices in the areas of setting direction, influencing others, and redesigning the organization as performed by the principal and as perceived by their teachers is related to the achievement of special education subgroups in English/Language Arts and Mathematics. Special educators from elementary schools, identified by the principals, were surveyed to measure the extent to which they perceived their principal exhibited specific leadership behaviors. Data for this quantitative study were collected using a survey, developed by the researcher based on current literature regarding instructional leadership practices. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the responses. Archival data collected from the State of Georgia school report cards was used in an effort to more comprehensively examine special education teacher perceptions of the extent to which principals exhibit instructional leadership behaviors. There was not a significant correlation between special education teachers' perceptions of principal leadership behaviors and the achievement of students with disabilities. The findings indicate a moderate negative correlation between special education teachers in Title I schools and non-Title I schools in their perceptions of principals' behaviors related to setting direction and goals. Differences in achievement were found between Title I schools and non-Title I schools.