Student performance and leadership practices of selected elementary school principals: a cohort study



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Texas A&M University


School leadership provides a critical bridge between student success initiatives and their impact on students in Texas schools. This study, which was one of four cohort studies conducted concurrently in Region V Education Service Center (ESC), Texas, examined the relationship between student performance, as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), and leadership practices of elementary school principals in Region V ESC schools. The investigation procedures for this study involved an analysis of the responses from principals and site-based decision making (SBDM) committee members from their respective campuses to the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) developed by Kouzes and Posner (2003) which evaluates the use of five identified leadership practices: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. Student performance information for the participating elementary campuses was obtained from the Texas Education Agency Academic Excellence Indicator System database. This study found no linear relationship between perceived leadership practices of elementary principals and the academic success of students as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). However, a relationship between these variables is strongly supported by the literature. The data were an indication that Region V elementary principals embrace the leadership practices identified by Kouzes and Posner at least moderately (between the 30th and 69th percentile) or at a higher level (70th percentile or above). As a group, the principals in this study rated themselves higher overall in regard to perceived leadership practices than did their observers, but only significantly higher on three of the five individual practices. Principals and their observers agreed that the practice Enable Others to Act was the most frequently noted followed by the practices Model the Way and Encourage the Heart. The practices with the least reported frequency were Challenge the Process and Inspire a Shared Vision. Further analysis of the data showed that the demographic variables of gender, ethnicity, age, and years of experience in the field of education did not have an effect on survey responses of the study participants.