The relationship between leader decision making and student achievement at K-3 Title I and Reading First elementary schools

Emily Kathleen Richmond

Abstract

This mixed methodology study investigated the relationship between administrator and teacher perceptions of leader decision making regarding five variables (reading training, reading curriculum, program evaluation, financial support, and student assessment) and student achievement (in the single content area, reading, at the 3rd grade level) in Title I K-3 schools receiving Reading First Grants (RFGs) and Title I K-3 schools not receiving RFGs, in four states (Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, and Oklahoma). Respondent data and district data regarding percentages of students achieving proficient and above on state third grade reading assessments were analyzed via Pearson Correlations, Multiple Regression Analysis, and a MANOVA. For teachers from RFG and non RFG schools, all decision scales were found to be significantly correlated with each other, but not with reported percentages of third grade students at or above proficient in reading, as reported on the annual report card the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) required of each state. For administrators, most decision making variables were found to be significantly correlated with each other, and curriculum was found to be significantly correlated with reported percentages of third grade students at or above proficient in reading (r(104)=.26, p=.007). The highest correlations among administrators were between evaluation and assessment (r(96)=.59, p<.001) and evaluation and training (r(104)=.56, p<.001). For teachers, the highest correlation was between evaluation and assessment (r(135)=.63, p<.001). However, evaluation and training was the second lowest significant correlation for teachers (r(138)=.37, p<.001). The lack of correlations between decision scales and district level reported percentages of third grade students at or above proficient in reading contrasted with the results implied by the qualitative portion of the study. Statistically significant differences were found between the response models for teachers and principals and respondents from RFG and non RFG schools.