Date of Award

12-1-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Sheila Gregory

Second Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Noran Moffett

Abstract

The accountability and standards movements in education have intensified pressure on school administrators to raise the achievement levels of their students. The purpose of this inquiry was to explain the connections among key organizational variables and student achievement. One of the difficulties in predicting student achievement is that the socioeconomic status generally overwhelms all other organizational variables in explaining the variance. Thus, it is important to find school properties that can explain student achievement controlling for socioeconomic status. The intention of this study is to determine if a relationship exists between the leadership practices of school principals and ninth grade student achievement as measured by GPA and the EOCT examination as assessed by teacher perceptions by an instrument created by the researcher. The leadership practices of principals were measured using an instrument survey that is divided into three sections: School Administration, Student Assessment, and School Climate. There was an attempt to control any bias in perceptions 1 by determining if selected demographic variables of the schools (enrollment size, race, gender, students’ free lunch status, and class size ratio) are significantly related to teachers’ perceptions of the principal leadership. Student achievement was determined using the grade point averages and EOCT scores for ninth graders for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years. It is expected that the results of this study will be of interest to administrators of schools and other schools who serve students from lower socioeconomic groups in rural areas with urban characteristics. If variation in principal leadership is influenced by the characteristics of teachers and students, the findings may be of interest to supervisors of principals who might have to show more empathy when conducting clinical supervision with principals, while increasing principal knowledge base for facilitating teachers in coping with such conditions.

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