principalship, leadership, achievement scores
The purpose of this inquiry was to examine the possible extent to which specific, identifiable leadership characteristics of Central Florida school principals differ between middle and high school administrators, and to examine if these leadership characteristics display a relationship, either positively or negatively, with the obtainment of student scores on state measures of education accountability (FCAT reading scores). Data from the research sample were collected through the administration of a modified version of the Audit of Principal Effectiveness (APE), a survey instrument developed by Dr. Jerry Valentine through the Middle Level Leadership Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Valentine & Bowman, 1984). The survey instrument used for this study contained 52 statements regarding principal leadership characteristics divided into two domains (organizational environment and educational program). The organizational environment domain (questions 1-37) establishes the ability of the principal to nurture the on-going climate of the school through development of positive interpersonal relations among the staff members and effective daily operational procedures for the school. The second domain, educational program, ascertains the principal's ability to serve as the educational leader of the school through active involvement in instructional leadership and curriculum development. Teachers were asked to rate their principal on a 9-point Likert-type scale (1 = not effective, 5 = moderately effective, 9 = very effective) on the extent they perceived the principal to be effective in that leadership skill. A sufficient number of surveys (minimum of 7) were returned from teachers at 60 schools (35 middle schools and 25 high schools) out of a possible 104 for a response rate of 57.7%. The investigation found the following: 1) There was no statistically significant difference between the mean scores representing teacher perceptions of principal leadership on either the organizational environment or educational program domains of the (APE) between middle schools and high schools; 2) There was no statistically significant correlation, when middle school and high school principals were treated as one group, between the mean scores representing teacher perceptions of principal leadership on either the organizational environment or educational program domains of the APE and student achievement; 3) There was a statistically significant negative (inverse) correlation between FCAT reading percentage and low-SES percentage for all schools; 4) As teacher rating mean scores on the APE organizational environment domain increased, the negative (inverse) correlation between FCAT reading percentage and low-SES percentage decreased but not at statistically significant levels; and 5) A positive correlation between teacher rating mean scores and FCAT reading percentage was indicated for high school principals on both the organizational environment and educational program domains of the APE. These correlations were not statistically significant at the higher alpha required for multiple correlation tests, but they were positive and the correlation for the organizational environment domain approached significance.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Fisher, Thomas, "A Comparison Of The Perceived Leadership Characteristics Of Central Florida Middle And High School Principals And School Achievement Scores" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 317.