Principals' perceptions of readiness for their evolving roles in high-stakes environments

Angela Marie Huff

Abstract

Principals are leading schools during an evolving time where preparation may not have prepared principals fully for the task of school leadership. The past decade has revealed an escalation in the disapproval of principal preparation programs and participants in these programs insist that these schools be held accountable (Levine, 2005). However, in revamping preparation programs, one must focus on student selection, curriculum and course content, pedagogical strategies, internships, and field experiences (Orr, 2006). Some have suggested that the job of principal may have become impossible for all but a few super leaders (Lashway, 2003). The requirements of the job may discourage qualified educators' to pursue careers in leadership and possibly lessen the number of competent applicants. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate principals' perceptions of their readiness for evolving roles in high-stakes environments and to assess their need for additional training. The researcher also examined how experience variables affected principals' perceptions of preparedness for their duties and if principals felt comfortable with their duties. The survey instrument was developed based on the MCREL principal standards, the 2008 ISLLC education leadership policy standards, the Arthur Levine Principal Questionnaire, and the Southern Regional Education Board's 13 critical success factors for effective principals. After making revisions based suggestions from an expert panel and testing for reliability, the instrument was ready for use with the sample. Survey responses were obtained from 109 of the 112 principals surveyed in a large suburban Georgia school district. There was no significant difference between male and female principals' perceptions of whether their training programs prepared them for the duties and responsibilities of the principalship. Individuals who had attained a doctorate versus a master's degree perceived that they were more prepared for their duties and responsibilities. There were no differences in the level of comfort in performing duties and responsibilities or in their need for additional training based on degree attainment.