Leadership practices that promote increased student achievement in secondary schools

Billy Ray Jones Jr.

Abstract

The purpose of the following study was to determine the degree to which the perceptions of teachers and school level administrators may differ, and the effects of these perceptions on student achievement as measured at the school level by the school's accountability score reported in the form of the Quality Distribution Index (QDI). This index ranges from 0 to 300 and is used in the state of Mississippi to assign schools to one of seven accountability labels. Schools may be classified as one of the following depending on their QDI score: star, high performing, successful, academic watch, at risk of failure, low performing, or failing. All secondary schools in the state of Mississippi were contacted for participation in this study. Participation in the study consisted of supervising principals and the teachers at the school completing online surveys regarding the principal's demonstration of various leadership responsibilities. Once these scores were recorded, the co-variable of socioeconomic status was controlled for as the perception of principals of their leadership responsibilities was regressed with the QDI score. This statistical analysis found a significant amount of variance between the leadership perception of the principal and that of the QDI score. This finding is supported by other research in that the efficacy of the principal can have a significant impact on student and school achievement. Teacher perceptions of the principal's leadership ability was found to have less than a significant relationship when regressed with QDI while controlling for the co-variable of socioeconomic status. Finally, a difference score was calculated between the principal's perception and the teacher's perception, and this score was then placed in a regression with the QDI once again controlling for the co-variable of socioeconomic status. No significant relationship was found with this difference score and the QDI score for the school while controlling for the co-variable of socioeconomic status. The findings of this study would seem to support other research which has shown that the efficacy, or belief that one has an impact, of the school principal does have a significant impact on student achievement.