Principal efficacy: An investigation of school principals' sense of efficacy and indicators of school effectiveness

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Kyna Shelley

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


At the individual school level, the responsibility for demonstrating school effectiveness lies on the shoulders of the building administrator. In fact, "it is widely accepted that good principals are the cornerstones of good schools and that, without a principal's leadership efforts to raise student achievement, schools cannot succeed" (Tschannen-Moran & Gareis, 2004, p. 573). However, federal, state, and local mandates have increased the pressure on school administrators to demonstrate effectiveness. As a result, the work of school administrators has changed. Furthermore, Fullan (2003) identifies a trend that demonstrates a dramatic decrease in the principal's perceptions of effectiveness, authority, trust, and involvement. Additionally, Bandura (2000) stated that "when faced with obstacles, setbacks, and failures, those who doubt their capabilities slacken their efforts, give up, or settle for mediocre solutions. Therefore, the efficacy beliefs of the principal are vital to meeting the challenging expectations facing school administrators (Paglis & Green, 2002). The primary purpose of this study was to determine if there is a statistically significant relationship between principal's sense of efficacy beliefs and indicators of school effectiveness. The participants for this study included 387 school administrators from the state of Georgia. The researcher utilized the Principal Sense of Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran and Gareis (2004) and a demographic survey to collect data. Data was collected by using an online survey site. A response rate of 24% was obtained. In regard to statistical findings, six hypotheses related to principal efficacy and school effectiveness were tested. Statistical significance was obtained in regard to principals' years of experience and in regard to whether or not principal worked in a school that meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) or not. Additional findings suggested that there is not a strong link between principal efficacy beliefs and indicators of school effectiveness as demonstrated by this research. However, there were some interesting findings that justify the continued exploration of principal efficacy beliefs and factors associated with school effectiveness. Specifically, future research should examine the relationships between principals' sense of efficacy for instructional leadership and principals' sense of efficacy for management and indicators of school effectiveness at the middle and high school levels.