Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This qualitative case study examined the perceptions of high performing elementary, middle and high school teachers and principals, as evidenced by their students' high achievement levels, relative to the principal leadership practices having the strongest relationship to student achievement. The Marzano Focused School Leader Evaluation Model, which contains six domains and 21 elements identifying comprehensively researched and evidence-based principal leadership practices, was used as a conceptual framework. The identification of the specific principal leadership practices having the strongest relationship to student achievement hinged on the delineation of the perceptions of the teacher and principal study participants relative to the principal leadership practices having the strongest relationship to student achievement.

Due to the nature of this study, which examined the perspectives and experiences of human subjects, a qualitative case study approach was used. Using a semi-structured interviewing methodology, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with elementary, middle and high school teachers and principals. The data collection was centered around the overarching research questions: (1) Which principal leadership practices, as perceived by teachers, have the strongest relationship to student achievement? and (2) Which principal leadership practices, as perceived by principals, have the strongest relationship to student achievement? Data analysis identified patterns that gave rise to themes on which the study's implications were hinged.

The major findings of this study revealed specific principal leadership practices accounting for high levels of student achievement, including the principal: providing meaningful feedback to teachers regarding predominant instructional practices; providing teacher support and job-embedded professional development; communicating clearly and positively with an emphasis on teaching and learning; making student-focused decisions; building trust and positive relationships with all school constituent groups; and promoting a collegial and collaborative environment in which to collectively solve problems and make decisions.

The findings of this study may help principal preparation program faculties design syllabi more narrowly focused on the essential principal leadership practices having the strongest relationship to student achievement and their application in the field. Implications of the results for this study and future research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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