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Teachers' Perception of their Principal's Leadership Style and the Effects on Student Achievement in Improving and Non-improving Schools

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Brenda Kay Hardman
Abstract:
Teachers' perceptions of their school leaders influence student achievement in their schools. The extent of this influence is examined in this study. This quantitative study examined teachers' perceptions of the leadership style of their principals as transformational, transactional or passive-avoidant in improving and non-improving schools in relation to student achievement. The study population was a purposeful sample of 143 teachers in 16 schools in one school district. Leadership behaviors, as perceived by the teachers, were measured using the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire. Student achievement was measured with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results for each school using three years of results. Independent t -test, multiple regressions, and an open-ended question were used to analyze the research questions. The study found that teachers in improving and non-improving schools had minimal differences in how they perceived their principals' leadership styles. All three leadership styles were statistically significant predictors of student achievement. School status was not significant in predicting student achievement indicating no difference in student achievement between improving and non-improving schools. Transactional leadership had a negative relationship while transformational and passive-avoidant leadership style had a positive relationship with student achievement. Regression analysis of the MLQ subscales for each leadership style as perceived by the teachers and the school status with student achievement found that transformational subscale intellectual stimulation and school status had a statistically significant positive relationship with student achievement. Likewise, the transactional subscale management by exception-active was a significant predictor with student achievement but had a negative relationship. Passive avoidant style also had a positive relationship with student achievement. Teacher demographics of gender, age, years as a teacher, years at current school, and level of school (elementary, middle, high) were examined in relation to perceived leadership style and school status. Multiple regression analysis found that only years at current school that was significant in how they perceived their principal's transformational or passive avoidant leadership style. No demographic variables were significant for transactional style or school status. Overall, teachers were satisfied with the principal's leadership style and effectiveness. Teachers most often cited school culture as having an influence on student achievement in both improving and non-improving schools. Limitations of the study included self-reported teacher perceptions of principal leadership style from 16 schools in one school district which limits generalizability; no controls for teacher classroom performance and no verification of respondents actually observing principal behaviors; time of year survey was given; and, the use of one instrument to measure leadership style may not reflect the actual leadership style of the principal.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

................................ ................................ ................................ .....................

iv

List of Figures

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

vi

Abstract

................................ ................................ ................................ .............................

vii

Chapter One Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ .... 1

Background of the Study.

................................ ................................ ..........................

1

The school Leader’s Role in Student Achievement

................................ .......

2

The importance of Teacher - Focused Leadership

................................ ..........

2

Conceptual Framework of the Study

................................ ................................ ..

3

Statement of the Research Problem

................................ ................................ ......

4

Purpose of the Study

................................ ................................ ................................ ...

6

Research Questions

................................ ................................ ................................ .....

7

Methodology of the Study

................................ ................................ ..........................

9

Data Gathering Instruments ................................ ................................ ..................

11

Assumptions, Delimitations, and Limitations of the Study

........................

13

Assumptions

................................ ................................ ................................ ..............

13

Delimitations

................................ ................................ ................................ .............

13

Limitations

................................ ................................ ................................ .................

14

Definition of Key Terms

................................ ................................ ..........................

14

Significa nce of the Study

................................ ................................ .........................

17

Organization of the Study

................................ ................................ .......................

18

Chapter Two Literature Review

................................ ................................ ......................... 19

Purpose

................................ ................................ ................................ .........................

19

Conceptual Framework

................................ ................................ ...........................

21

Administrative Leadership Styles within Situational Leadership Theory

................................ ................................ ................................ ...........................

22

Situational Leadership Theory

................................ ................................ ...........

23

Transformational Leadership Style

................................ ................................ .

25

Transactional Leader ship Style

................................ ................................ .........

29

Building School Capacity through Leadership Styles

................................ ...

32

Elements of Teacher - Focused Principal Behaviors that Build Teacher

Capacity

................................ ................................ ................................ .......................

35

School Capacity and Teacher Capacity ................................ ............................

36

Principal Role Modeling to Build School Capacity

................................ ......

38

Leadership Decisions and Building School Capacity

................................ .

40

ii

Leadership Style and School Capacity impacts Student Learning Gains

................................ ................................ ................................ ..............................

43

Leadership Styles and Student Learning Gains

................................ ...........

45

School Capacity and Student Learning Gains

................................ ...............

47

The Elements of Sc hool Capacity and Student Learning Gains

.............

48

Conclusion

................................ ................................ ................................ ...................

51

Chapter Three Research Method

................................ ................................ ....................... 55

Problem and Purpose of the Study

................................ ................................ .....

55

Research Questions

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

56

Research Population

................................ ................................ ................................

57

Design of the Study

................................ ................................ ................................ ...

62

Design of the Instrument

................................ ................................ ........................

66

Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

(5x - Short)

................................ ....

69

Validation of the Multiple Leadership Questionnaire (5x - Short) .........

72

Validation of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test

...................

77

Pilot Study

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

79

Research Variables

................................ ................................ ................................ ...

83

Data Collection Procedures

................................ ................................ ...................

84

Data Analysis

................................ ................................ ................................ ..............

85

Role of the Researcher and Ethical Considerations

................................ ......

89

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ......................

90

Chapter Four Research Results

................................ ................................ .......................... 91

Descriptive Statistics

................................ ................................ ...............................

91

Leadership Styles in Improv ing and Non - improving Schools

...................

94

Leadership Style and Student Achievement in Improving and Non - improving Schools

................................ ................................ ...........................

96

Transformational, Transactional, and Passive Avoidant Leader Subscales and Student Achievement

................................ ................................ .......

98

Teacher Demographics and their Perception of Leadership Styles

.............

102

Behaviors of Leaders as Perceived by Teachers

................................ .........

107

Emerging Themes

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

108

Principal Role Modeling Theme

................................ ................................ ......

110

School Culture Theme

................................ ................................ .........................

112

Leadership Decisions Theme

................................ ................................ ............

114

Leadership Outcomes and Principal Leadership Style

................................ ...

115

Summary of Results

................................ ................................ ...............................

119

Chapter 5 Summary and Discussion

................................ ................................ ................ 122

Purpose of the Study

................................ ................................ .............................

123

iii

Research Questions

................................ ................................ ...............................

123

Context of the Study

................................ ................................ ..............................

124

Discussion of the Findings

................................ ................................ ..................

126

Leadership Styles and Improving and Non - improving Schools

..........

126

Principal Leadership Styles and S tudent Achievement

..........................

130

Principal Leadership Style

................................ ................................ .................

131

Transformational

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

132

Transactional

................................ ................................ ................................ ..........

133

Passive - avoidant ................................ ................................ ................................ ....

134

Demographic Variables and Leadership Styles

................................ .........

135

Teacher Perspectives on Leadership Behaviors

................................ .........

135

Principal Role Modeling

................................ ................................ ......................

135

Building School Capacity

................................ ................................ ....................

137

Leadership Decisions

................................ ................................ ...........................

138

Leadership s Styles and Leadership Outcomes

................................ ...........

138

Limitations of the Study

................................ ................................ .......................

140

Implications for Future Research

................................ ................................ ....

142

Conclusion

................................ ................................ ................................ ................

143

Refe rences

................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 149

Appendices

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 166

Appendix A: Sample MLQ Items and 5 - Point Likert Scale

........................

167

Appendix B: Eliminated School Samples and Qualified School Samples

................................ ................................ ................................ ......................

168

Appendix C: Email to Teachers with Survey Monkey Link

......................

168

Appendix D: Demographic Survey -

Professional Descriptions for 2010 - 2011

................................ ................................ ................................ .................

171

Appendix E: Teacher Responses to Open - Response Questions

.............

172

About The Author

................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 1

iv

List of Tables

Table 1: Identifying 16 Sample Schools

................................ ................................ ............ 60

Table 2: Population Response of the Study Sample

................................ .......................... 61

Table 3: Summary of Instruments: MLQ (5x - Short) and FCAT

................................ ....... 68

Table 4: Types of Questions for Grade Level on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test .

................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 76

Table 5: Bass & Avolio’s MLQ, Pilot and Researcher’s Study: Means, Standard Deviation, and Reliabilities

................................ ................................ ................................ 81

Table 6: Summary Research Questions and Data Analysis

................................ ............... 87

Table 7: Descriptive Statistics for Teacher Perception o f Principal Leadership Styles (N=143)

................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 93

Table 8: Independent t - test results for Transformational Leadership Style of the Principal in Improving and Non - improving schools (N=143)

................................ ........... 95

Table 9: Independent t - test results for Transactional Leadership Style of Principals in Improving and Non - improving schools (N=143)

................................ ......... 96

Table 10: I ndependent t - test results for Passive Avoidant Leadership Style of Principals in Improving and Non - improving schools (N=143)

................................ ......... 96

Table 11: Regression Explaining Effect on Achievement Outcomes by L eadership Styles and Improvement Status of Schools (N=143)

................................ ......................... 98

Table 12: Transformational Leadership Style subscales and Improvement status as Predictors of Student Achievement (N = 143)

................................ ................................ . 100

Table 13: Transactional Leadership Style Subscales and Improvement Status as Predictors of Student Achievement (N = 143)

................................ ................................ . 101

Table 14: Pass ive Avoidant Leadership Style Subscales and Improvement Status as Predictors of Student Achievement (N = 143)

................................ ............................ 102

v

Table 15: Demographic Characteristics of Teacher Respondents

................................ ... 104

Table 16: Multiple Regression Explaining Transformational Leadership Style and Demographics for School Improvement Status (N = 143)

................................ .............. 105

Table 17: Mult iple Regression Explaining Transactional Leadership Style and Demographics for School Improvement Status (N = 143)

................................ .............. 106

Table 18: Multiple Regression Explaining Passive Avoidant Leadership Style a nd Demographics for School Improvement Status (N = 143)

................................ .............. 107

Table 19: Survey Responses to Open - Ended Question (N = 143)

................................ .. 110

Table 20: Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Leadership Outcomes

................. 117

Table 21: Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Leadership Outcomes

................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 117

Table 22: Correlations between Leadership Subscales (N= 143)

................................ .... 119

vi

List of Figures

Figure 1. Leadership Style , School Capacity and Student Achievement Conceptual Framework

................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 22

vii

Abstract

Teachers ’

perceptions of their school leaders

influence student achievement in their schools . The extent of thi s influence is examined in this study. This quantitative study examined teachers’ perceptions of the leadership style of their principals as transformational, transactional or passive - avoidant in improving and non - improving schools in relation to student a chievement. The study population was a purposeful sample of 143

teachers in 16 schools in one school district. Leadership behaviors,

as perceived by the teachers, were measured using

the Multi - factor Leadership Questionnaire. Student achievement was measur ed with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results for each school

using three years of results . Independent t - test, multiple regressions, and an open - ended question were used to analyze the research questions.

The study found that teachers in impr oving and non - improving schools had minimal differences in how they perceived their principals’ leadership styles. All three leadership styles were statistically significant predictors of student achievement. School status was not significant

in predicting

student achievement indicating no difference in student achievement between improving and non - improving schools. Transactional leadership had a negative relationship while t ransformational and passive - avoidant leadership style had a positive relationship with student achievement.

viii

Regression analysis of the MLQ subscales for each leadership style as perceived by the teachers and the school status with student achievement found that transformational subscale intellectual stimulation and school status had a statistically significant positive relationship with student achievement. Likewise, the transactional subscale management by exception - active was a significant predictor with student achievement but had a negative relationship. Passive avoidant style also had a positive relationship with student achievement.

Teacher demographics of gender, age, years as a teacher, years at current school, and level of school (elementary, middle, high) were examined in relation to perceived leadership style and school status . Multiple regression analysis found that only years at current school that was significant in how they perceived their principal’s transformational or passive avoidant leadership style. No demographic variables were significant for transactional style or school status.

Overall ,

teachers were satisfied with the principal’s leadership style and effectiveness. Teachers most often cited school c ulture as having an influence

on student achievement in both improving and non - improving schools.

Limitations of th e study included self - reported teacher perceptions of principal leadership style

from 16 schools in one school district which limits generalizability; no controls for teacher classroom performance and no verification of respondents actually observing princ ipal behaviors;

time of year survey was given;

and ,

the use of one

ix

instrument to measure leadership style may not reflect the actual leadership style of the principal.

1

Chapter One

Introduction

Chapter On e presents the overview of the study. The areas addressed in the chapter are the conceptual framework, statement of the research problem, purpose of the study, research questions, methodology of the study, data gathering instruments, assumptions, and defin ition of key terms. The chapter concludes with the significance of the study and the organization of the chapters that follow.

Background of the Study.

Federal education initiatives are holding each state a ccountable for the education of all children through close monitoring of individual student data at the district and school level. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to include requirements

for states to meet Adequate Yearly Progress objectives and performance standards set by federal

policy (No Child Left Behind Act, Public Law 107 - 110, 2001, Baker, Betebenner & Linn, 2002). This pervasive accountability system places statewide student tes ting results as one of the final determinations of school improvement efforts. It is only with a shift in the focus from a managerial style of school leadership to a teacher - focused style of leadership that school improvement will increase and student achi evement will rise (Bredson, 2005, Lazaridou, 2006).

2

The school leader’s role in student achievement .

The actions of school leaders impact school capacity and may

either enhance or dimini sh student achievement. School capacity is defined as the collective power of a school staff to raise student achievement (King & Youngs, 2002). The effective educational leader is one who has the ability to develop a school’s capacity to enhance student l earning through the motivation of teachers, staff and students (Daley, Guarino & Santibanez, 2006). Such leadership is determined by the followers, not the leaders (Bhindi, Hansen, Rall, Riley, & Smith, 2008). Therefore, it may

be claimed that student achi evement is effected by the teacher’s perception of school leadership.

The importance of teacher - focused leadership .

School administrators who build school capacity through an effective leade rship style may influence student achievement through teachers (Christie, Thompson, & Whiteley, 2009). The school leader must have or be able to develop the capacity to work with staff to focus on curriculum, instruction and student learning gains (Fullen , 2001). The perception of the school administrator is often as a person who manages a school and not as a person who is an instructional leader. The leader’s daily activities and decisions reflect the pervasive focus and style of the school’s leadership ( Noonan & Walker, 2008). A teacher - focused leader works toward the development of school capacity which builds upon positive teacher capacity with the end results increasing

student achievement.

The outcome of a student’s education as evidenced through te st scores is often determined by the focus and effectiveness of a school’s leadership (Leithwood, 2005 &

3

2008). The educational leader’s role is to hire and motivate teachers to raise student learning gains (Hoy & Woolfolk, 1993, Janzi & Leithwood, 1996).

Students reveal their ability to learn through their measured achievement, attendance, and participation in school activities. However, it is the student s ’

perception of their teachers that sets the daily learning process in motion. Further, i t is the tea cher’s perception of how they are valued and supported by their school’s leadership that often has an influence on their daily decisions to motivate students (Bandura, 2003, Demir, 2008).

Conceptual fr amework

of the study . Authentic leadership is define d by followers, not the leaders (Bhindi, Hansen, Rall, Riley, & Smith, 2008). This study

use d

a

postpositivis t

philosophical paradigm to support the use of situational leadership theory as

the concept u a l framework. Postpositivism philosophy helps define the elusiveness

of leadership by suggesting the teacher’s realities are based on their personal experiences (Knipp & Mackenzie, 2006). This philosophical paradigm supports the need for leaders to know how

teachers define their leadership within the school culture.

Postpositivism is the lens used to view situational leadership. This theory provides the researcher with a critical realism which allows for principals to use their independent reality that is based on a multiple of measures they apply in their everyday situations when making leadership decisions (Trochim, 2008). Effective leadership is determined by the selection of the leadership style in daily leadership decisions. Educational leaders have mu ltiple roles which require the freedom of choice, or adaptability of their own behaviors (Blanchard & Hershey, 2001). As a result, student learning gains may

react to

4

school capacity as influenced by the teacher - focused leadership decisions within the conc eptual framework of situational leadership theory.

Statement of the Research Problem

Th is study's

research problem examine d

how school leadership style , as perceived by teachers, impacted

student ach ievement . The leadership styles of principals are interpreted and defined through the ir

teachers .

It is assumed that principal leadership behaviors influence teacher engagement with students which result s

in a measured impact on student performance . The fr amework of s ituational leadership theory maintains that leaders have the opportunity to select the style which positively influences their effective practices, role modeling and high expectations to enhance school improvement (Blase & Blase, 1999).

Does a principal’s leadership style as perceived by teachers as transactional, transformational , or passive - avoidant impact school capacity and ultimately student achievement? As a result of their decisions, e ffective school leaders develop an environment that builds or destroys school capacity . School capacity is raised through the administrative role modeling of effective practices and consistent teacher - focused decisions that ultimately impacts student learning gains (Demir & Kamile, 2008). Consequently, the improvement of t eacher capacity directly relates to the selected style when a teacher witnesses a leader’s belief system that supports them professionally (Barnett, Craven & Marsh, 2005).

5

Th ere is a knowledge gap in education research studies on teacher - focused leadership styles that effect student achievement. To help close this gap, t h e variables of this

study identif ied

the principal’s

of leadership styles , as perceived by their teachers, the status of schools as improving or non - improving, and the sc hool’s student achievement. A close model to this study was a

similar 2008 study completed by international authors, Koford, Krejsler, and Moos who conducted multiple studies on transactional leadership that found leadership drives student learning gains w hen leaders are aware of their impact on teacher self - efficacy (2008). Bredson’s research supported

that school leadership must seek to increase teacher capacity due to the accelerated accountability for increased student achievement created

by the 2001 No

Child Left Behind Act (2005).

Leithwood, a leading researcher on transformational leadership, advocate d

the need for additional research on the impact of leadership style on student achievement. Leithwood conducted studies which found transformational and transactional

styles of leadership encourage staff collaboration, teacher improvement, and a higher teacher perception of leadership which impacts the overall school culture. This author espoused that the most powerful strategy to drive teacher actions

is principal visibility while carrying out actions toward increasing student achievement (Leithwood, 1992, 2005 & 2008).

Hence, this study offers supplementary and expanded research on the examination of the leadership style of the principal, as perceived

by the teachers in improving and non - improving schools on student achievement.

6

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was

to examine the relationship between l eadership styles as perceived by teachers a s determined by the MLQ (5x - Short) survey (Bass & Avolio, 200 4 ) and the school’s student achievement data on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The variables of the study were determined by the research questions reflecting the purpose of t he study: principal’s leadership style, status of the schools as either improving or non - improving and student achievement. These variables were determined based on the conviction that principals do not have a direct impact on student achievement since the y are not responsible for instructing students. Principals affect student achievement through teachers. The

premise of this research was

that the principal 's

leadership behaviors influence d

teachers who , in turn,

are directly responsible for student achiev ement. Therefore, teacher perception of leadership behaviors and school performance on FCAT may identify effective leadership styles and behaviors that influence student achievement.

Th is

study sought to contribute to the research that examines a princip al’s leadership style and its

influence on student academic performance .

S ituational leadership has been prominent in previous research and

contributed to the study’s framework. For example, Blas e

and Blas e

(1999) found that leaders have the opportunity

to

select the style that positively influences effective practices, role modeling and their high expectations as instructional leaders who enhance school improvement .

7

Additionally, improving

schools exhibit a culture with a focus on student achievement, good

communication, and high expectations of teachers and students (Bruner, 1997).

Research literature substantiates the study and presents a pattern of support for additional research due to knowledge gaps

(Blanchard & Hersey, 1979; Halinger & Beck, 1998, 2 005; Lazaridou, 2006) . Few

existing studies established a link between the impact of leadership decisions on teachers and student achievement. Research on educational leadership is extensive. However, current studies fail to concentrate

on specifically tea cher - focused leadership styles that effect student achievement through the building of school capacity. This study attempt ed

to identify the relationship between the style of school leadership, as perceived by the teachers

in improving and non - improving sc hools, and the effect on student achievement.

The current demand for increased school accountability to raise student achievement has added pressure on school leaders to change from a managerial leader to an instructional leader. As a result, t he importa nce of demonstrating a leadership style that positively influences school improvement

is paramount to their success. This study serves to contribute to the foundation of knowledge and understanding of how leadership styles influence teachers and ultimately

student achievement.

Research Questions

8

Is there a relationship

between the leadership style of a principal as perceived by their teachers and student test scores?

The

research questions were developed in accorda nce with the purpose of the study and the statement of the research problem.

1. How do teachers in

improving and non - improving

schools perceive the leadership

style s of their school principals ?

2. What is the relationship between transformational, tran sactional, and passive -

avoidant leadership style s

of the school principal as

perceived by their teachers

and improving and non - improving schools defined by the achievement of

students as measured by the FCAT over a three year period ?

3. What is the rel ationship between the school principal’s leadership style as perceived by

their teachers on the on the five transformational, three transactional and one

passive - avoidant leadership sub scale s

and student achievement in improving and

non - improving

school s

to the FCAT ?

4. What is the relationship of teacher gender, age, years of experience as a teacher, and

years of experience at their current school to their perception of the principal’s

leadership style in improving and non - improving

schools?

5. What are the behaviors of school principals that influence student achievement as

perceived by the teachers? Teachers are asked “What are the behaviors of your

principal that engage teachers and improve student performance?”

6. How do teachers perceive the l eadership styles of their school principals as leadership

outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort?

9

Methodology of the Study

This study examined the relationship between school leadership a s perceived by teachers, student achievement, and the demographics of teacher gender, years of experience in education, and years experience at their current school. The principal’s

leadership style was

determined by their teachers as measured by

the Multi factor Leadership Questionnaire (5x Short) survey (Avolio & Bass, 2004)

(Appendix A)

and correlated with the school’s student achievement data as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The

demographic data was

collected with the MLQ (5x Short) survey. In addition, an open - ended question ask ed teachers to describe the principal’s behaviors that supported their work in increasing student achievement.

The purposeful sample consisted of sixteen schools selected from a pool of qualifying elementary, middle and high schools in one school district. Nontraditional schools were removed from the sample to ensure a comparative sample. The schools not included were designated as charter, private, detention and specialty centers .

Overall, twenty p ercent of the elementary, middle and high schools in the district were included in the study.

The sample of schools generate d

sufficient data to determine the answer to the research questions with rich descriptions (Kemper et al., 2003; Huberman & Miles, 1 994) and increase d

the descriptive validity and interpretive validity (Maxwell, 1992). Statistical inferences about a population can be made from information obtained from a single

sample drawn from a population (Saldanha & Thompson, 2002).

10

To meet the pu rpose of the study and answer the research questions, the school samples were

divided by

school improvement status: improving or

non - improving . Improving and non - improving schools were selected by school level and matched with similar demographics and size

to obtain the needed numbers and ensure a comparative sample. An improving

school was

defined as having a 1% increase for each of the three consecutive years used in the study for their FCAT Readin g and Mathematics scores. A non - improving

school had

less than a 1% increase for each of the three consecutive years used in the study for their FCAT Reading and Mathematics scores. The score in crease and decrease percentages were based on the FCAT’s scoring scale from 1 to 5 with student non - passing scores of a 1 or 2 and passing scores of a 3, 4 or 5.

The M LQ

survey ,

plus five additional questions developed by the researcher, was emailed to 865 teachers at the 16 sample schools (Appendix B). If an individual survey had less than 50% completion the survey was el iminated.

The final number of surveys used was 143.

A nonexperimental descriptive and correlational

research design was

used in this study to determine the relationship of the teacher perception of school leadership and student achievement

in improving a nd non - improving schools . The data analysis relied

upon the tools of both descriptive and correlational research designs. A detailed numerical and graphical summary of the survey data was provided through the use of these two research methods. An examinat ion of the variables of leadership style, school improvement status and student achievement provided for an analysis of the relationship

11

between

them in order to provide a richer description of how perceived leadership style influences student performance .

Data Gathering Instruments

This study use d

the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire s (5x - Short) Rater Form as the

measurement tool to determine

the leadership styles of principals as perceived by their tea chers. The transformational , transactional, and passive - avoidant leadership styles are identified

through the selection of a sequence of questions designed to define the leader’s style (Antonakis, Avolio, and Sivasubramaniam, 2003).

The three leadership styles and nine subscales are de fined and measured with the MLQ survey through a Likert - type scale.

On the MLQ t he first leadership style, transformational leadership ,

has five subscales and describes a leader who motivates followers to excel

based on th eir original level of confidence towards accomplishing desired outcomes. The transformation al

leadership subscales address the perceived influences, behaviors, motivational abilities, and support of teachers by the principal. The 5 subscales are: idealize d influence (attributed), idealized influence (behavior), inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.

The next leadership style assessed on the MLQ, t ransactional ,

describes leaders who work within the structure of an organization to identify the skills of followers to assign roles and responsibility to achieve the desired outcomes. The achieved outcomes

12

are a result of this leader negotiating with followers in an exchange relationship of rewards for compliance (B ass, 1985). The three t ransactional subscales measure the leader's perceived exchange of ideas with followers, criticism and negative reinforcement when correcting, and monitoring for immediate feedback or when standards are not being met.

Full document contains 191 pages
Abstract: Teachers' perceptions of their school leaders influence student achievement in their schools. The extent of this influence is examined in this study. This quantitative study examined teachers' perceptions of the leadership style of their principals as transformational, transactional or passive-avoidant in improving and non-improving schools in relation to student achievement. The study population was a purposeful sample of 143 teachers in 16 schools in one school district. Leadership behaviors, as perceived by the teachers, were measured using the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire. Student achievement was measured with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results for each school using three years of results. Independent t -test, multiple regressions, and an open-ended question were used to analyze the research questions. The study found that teachers in improving and non-improving schools had minimal differences in how they perceived their principals' leadership styles. All three leadership styles were statistically significant predictors of student achievement. School status was not significant in predicting student achievement indicating no difference in student achievement between improving and non-improving schools. Transactional leadership had a negative relationship while transformational and passive-avoidant leadership style had a positive relationship with student achievement. Regression analysis of the MLQ subscales for each leadership style as perceived by the teachers and the school status with student achievement found that transformational subscale intellectual stimulation and school status had a statistically significant positive relationship with student achievement. Likewise, the transactional subscale management by exception-active was a significant predictor with student achievement but had a negative relationship. Passive avoidant style also had a positive relationship with student achievement. Teacher demographics of gender, age, years as a teacher, years at current school, and level of school (elementary, middle, high) were examined in relation to perceived leadership style and school status. Multiple regression analysis found that only years at current school that was significant in how they perceived their principal's transformational or passive avoidant leadership style. No demographic variables were significant for transactional style or school status. Overall, teachers were satisfied with the principal's leadership style and effectiveness. Teachers most often cited school culture as having an influence on student achievement in both improving and non-improving schools. Limitations of the study included self-reported teacher perceptions of principal leadership style from 16 schools in one school district which limits generalizability; no controls for teacher classroom performance and no verification of respondents actually observing principal behaviors; time of year survey was given; and, the use of one instrument to measure leadership style may not reflect the actual leadership style of the principal.