Perceptions of the Leadership Behaviors In Georgia Title I Distinguished and Needs Improvement Middle Schools

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

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TITLE: Perceptions of the Leadership Behaviors In Georgia Title I Distinguished and Needs Improvement Middle Schools
RESEARCHER: Gail M. Wincey
Tift College of Education
Mercer University (Atlanta, GA)
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: May 2009

The study sought to determine if there were significant differences in perceptions held by teachers and principals of principals’ leadership behavior in Georgia Title I middle schools labeled distinguished and needs improvement.

The research sample consisted of 26 school districts that encompassed 34 Georgia Title I middle schools. The participants were from 22 school districts located in a variety of geographical areas within Georgia. The size of the 22 school districts, based on the number of schools in the system, included three systems with more than 25 schools, three systems with 15-24 schools, seven with 5-14 schools, and eight with 3-4 schools. Out of the 24 Leadership Practices Inventory (Self) surveys mailed, 20 were returned (83% response rate) and of the 210 LPI-Observer surveys mailed, 120 were returned (57% response rate). The distinguished schools had a response rate of 62% and the needs improvement schools’ response rate was 64%.

Overall, no significant differences were found between principals in the distinguished and needs improvement schools on any of the five leadership practices. This was also true for between the teachers in these two categories of schools. However, three significant differences were found in perceptions of leadership behavior between teachers and principals in Georgia Title I distinguished and needs improvement middle schools. The leadership behaviors Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart resulted in a significant difference in the perceptions between principals and teachers in distinguished schools. Also, the leadership behavior Enable Others to Act resulted in a significant difference between principals’ and teachers’ perceptions in needs improvement schools. In these cases the responses from principals were higher than those from their teachers. These findings, according to the author, “contribute to understanding perceptions of teachers and principals which, in turn, influences student achievement and school AYP status.”