The Role of Leadership Responsibilities In the Implementation of A School-Wide Response to Intervention Model In High-Minority and High-Poverty Elementary Schools: Comparing Teachers and Principals Perceptions
Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Educational Leadership and Policies
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between school leadership and implementation of school-wide reforms. I chose the case of Response to Intervention (RTI), which had been adopted throughout my district. In order to explore the relationship between leadership and implementation, I sought two sets of data. First, I wanted to obtain data about the school principals' leadership. For this purpose, I sought both the principals' and their teachers' perceptions of the the principals' leadership. By using multiple sources, I was able to compensate for some limitations of self-reported data (principals, like any participants, may be inclined to represent their work in the best light.) I was also able to evaluate the extent to which their perceptions aligned or diverged. I hypothesized that if teachers and principals shared perceptions, that those perceptions are both more likely to be accurate and more likely to predict effective implementation of school-wide reform. Similarly, I hypothesized that if teachers' and principals' views diverged significantly, implementation could be more challenging and less effective. I did not, however, seek data about teachers' and principals' evaluations of each school principal's leadership skills. Instead, I sought information about which leadership responsibilities each principal emphasized. The focus upon emphasis rather than skills was rooted in the premise that school reform implementation required leaders to emphasize particular ones among their many responsibilities. For this purpose, I used McRel's articulation of 21 leadership responsibilities.
In addition to data about school leadership, I needed data about the extent to which a school reform model was implemented over time. Because RTI was instituted throughout my district, it provided an ideal case to study. I gathered baseline data as the year began, and then at the conclusion of the first year of implementation. Comparing these two data sets established the degree of implementation during that year.
Once the degree of implementation was established, I could investigate the relationships between the particular leadership emphases of each school leader, and the degree of implementation of RTI. I was also able to explore whether teachers' and principals' perceptions aligned, and particularly, whether that agreement or disparity related in any way to the success of the implementation. In addition, to test the alignment or divergence of teachers' and leaders' perceptions of the school reform, I asked both groups whether they felt the reform was minor (1st order), substantial (2nd order) or somewhere in between (mixed). I was also able to compare this alignment or divergence in perspective with the degree of implementation. The findings of this study showed that within elementary schools with high-poverty and high minority populations, a significant inverse correlation between the teachers' perceptions and the school principal's self-perception of how his or her leadership responsibilities influence the implementation of the school-wide Response to Intervention (RTI) model and the success of its implementation was detected. As the number of significant differences between the principal's and teachers' perceptions of the principal's emphasis of his particular leadership responsibilities increase, the successful implementation of the school-wide RTI model decreases. In the same respect, as the number of significant differences between the principal's and teachers' perceptions of the principal's emphasis of his leadership responsibilities decrease, the successful implementation of the school-wide RTI model increase.
In contrast to previous research, the school principal's perception, the teachers' perceptions, and the match between the principal's and teachers perceptions of the Change Order when implementing the school-wide RTI model in elementary schools with high-poverty and high minority populations were not reliable predictors of the degree of success of implementation of the model. The findings in this study also suggest that the schools did successfully implement the components of the school-wide RTI model in elementary schools with high-poverty and high minority populations.
Zola, J.(2011). The Role of Leadership Responsibilities In the Implementation of A School-Wide Response to Intervention Model In High-Minority and High-Poverty Elementary Schools: Comparing Teachers and Principals Perceptions. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/1023