School Leadership and Its Relation to School Performance

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

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TITLE: School Leadership and Its Relation to School Performance
RESEARCHER: Robert J. Di Vincenzo
School of Advanced Studies
University of Phoenix
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: April 2008

The purpose of this study was to determine the presence and strength of a relationship between leadership practices of high school principals and headmasters with student outcomes determined from standardized tests.

The sample was drawn from 125 public high school principals and assistant principals and 87 private or independent school headmasters and assistant headmasters in New Jersey. School performance was based upon the combined mathematics and language arts literacy percentage of advanced proficient scores for the 11th grade student population for the public schools and SAT scores were used as a ranking measure for public and independent schools. Forty-six public school principals and 48 private school headmasters agreed to participate (45% response rate) by completing the Leadership Practices Inventory. Typical respondents were men (74%), with an average of 8.7 years in their leadership position.

No significant correlations were found between the five leadership practices, or overall LPI score, and school performance. Neither gender nor years in the leadership position accounted for any statistically significant differences in the leadership practices. MANOVA analysis found statistically significant differences between public and private school leaders on all five leadership practices, with the former scores higher than their private school counterparts. The analysis did not find any differences, however, between top and low performing schools in either educational sector.