Middle-Level Leaders Perceptions of Accountability

Deena Cousar Brown


The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of middle-level principals personal and school accountability, their perceptions of beliefs and competencies that influence improvement in student achievement and accomplishment of accountability, and their perceptions regarding the adequacy of professional development and preparation for middle-level principals that affect their ability to improve student achievement and perform their leadership role in an increased accountability environment. This study specifically examined differences in the perceptions of middle-level principals' accountability based on socio-economics of the school, the number of years of administrative experience, and previous middle-level teaching experience. The findings of this study indicated that middle-level leaders attending the National Middle School Association Annual Conference are supportive of being held personally accountable for student achievement in their schools and that they hold competencies and beliefs identified in research to have a positive impact on student achievement. The findings also indicated that middle-level leaders lack confidence in federal mandates currently used to create the desired student achievement improvements and they have some concerns with the effect accountability is having on themselves and their schools particularly in regards to unreasonable mandate expectations, lack of funding, over-testing, and the narrow focus of accountability mandates. In addition, middle-level leaders indicated a need for more focused professional development in order to have a greater impact on the achievement of all students in their schools. Results of the Middle-Level Principal Accountability Questionnaire found one significant finding. This was for the difference between principals with fewer than five years of administrative experience and those with more than five years of administrative experience.