Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Schramm

Abstract

In 1990, Bernard Bass wrote, "Indeed, leadership is often regarded as the single most critical factor in the success or failure of an institution" (p. 8). Never before in the history of public education has the `success' or `failure' of schools as measured by standardized tests received so much federal attention. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2002) requires that students perform above proficient on state standardized assessments and that states are required to release a rating of each public school. South Carolina's public schools are under a microscope called the South Carolina School Report Card (SCSRC) rating system which publicizes its assigned grades of either Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, or Unsatisfactory to each school.

The impact that the SCSRC ratings have on public school leaders is one that has led principals to be more cognizant of all activities and undertakings in their schools. Included in this awareness is the demand to be more accountable for formal curriculum standardization, the instructional methods employed by teachers, collegiality among all staff, and professional development opportunities for school personnel. All of these additional responsibilities have influenced principals' differing styles of leadership.

The present study is focused on the differing leadership practices and the impact those practices are perceived to have on the overall rating of a school and focuses specifically on the perceptions teachers have of their principals.

Using the Leadership Practices Inventory- Observer (LPI) (2003; 2007), teachers evaluated the practices of their principals. The LPI is a thirty question survey where respondents rate their principals on the extent to which their principal engages in specific behaviors. The behaviors fall into five categories: 1) Model the Way; 2) Inspire a Shared Vision; 3) Challenge the Process; 4) Enable Others to Act; and 5) Encourage the Heart. The practices of exemplary leadership have no boundaries as to who can exhibit the behaviors.

The data were analyzed using an ANOVA to determine if the SCSRC's rating and age and gender influenced teacher perceptions of leadership practices and adds to the body of work on leadership practices in public education. Four hundred forty-two surveys were returned and analyzed for age, gender, and SCSRC rating as they related to each of the five subscales of the LPI. No statistical significance was found for any of the variables on any of the subscales of the LPI.

The present study reveals teachers' perceptions of principal effectiveness and the differences between these teachers' perceptions and the annual performance rating of a given school as determined by the SCSRC. The present study adds to the body of knowledge in assisting principals to become more aware of their personal leadership styles and their perceived leadership style as evaluated by their teachers and the impact these may have on the success of their schools.

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