Impact of Instructional Leaders’ Distributed Leadership Practices on Student Achievement in Charter High Schools

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

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TITLE: Impact of Instructional Leaders’ Distributed Leadership Practices on Student Achievement in Charter High Schools
RESEARCHER: Pansy Lambert-Knowles
Administrative Leadership and Teacher Learning
Walden University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: July 2013

The purpose of the study was to investigate distributive leadership practices in charter schools as perceived by teacher leaders and their potential effect on student achievement.

A potential sample of 11 charter high schools were targeted for this study and data were collected from teacher leaders from four charter high schools in the eighth largest school district in the United States. The instructional leader completed the self-version of the Leadership Practices Inventory and the teacher leaders of 11th grade students in each high school completed the observer form of the LPI (N = 19; response rate = 53%). To assess the student achievement, 11th grade state exam results for the schools on the PSSA were examined. Three of the instructional leaders were male as were 58 percent of the teacher leaders. Two of the instructional leaders had master’s degrees, as did 79 percent of the teacher leaders. Seventeen of the teacher leaders had served with their current school for six years or less and three of the instructional leaders had been in their current position for two or less years. Internal reliability (Cronbach alpha) for the LPI with teacher leaders was .893 Model, .864 Inspire, .864 Challenge, .860 Enable, and .907 Encourage.

LPI Observer scores, from teacher leaders, were highest for Enable, followed by Inspire, and then Model, Enable, and Encourage. With the exception of Inspire, the mean scores in this sample were lower than those found in the Kouzes-Posner normative data base. The study did not find a statistically significant relationship between the five exemplary leadership practices and students’ mathematics and reading achievement in all of the study schools, although relationships were found within some of the schools (three of the four schools reported strong correlations for one or more of the five leadership practices and math/reading achievement scores). Still the author concludes: “This study suggests that instructional leaders who often worked in collaboration with other stakeholders, particularly teacher leaders tended to experience a more consistent student performance” (p. 121).