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ERIC Number: ED516166
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 226
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-6296-9
A Quantitative Analysis of Arkansas Principals' Knowledge of School Law
Smith, Christy Lack
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Arkansas
The purpose of the study was to quantify the legal knowledge of Arkansas public school principals in seven areas: Arkansas law, constitutional issues, discipline, employee relations, federal law, special education/504, and tort liability and determine if significant relationships existed between legal knowledge recency of school law training, years of administrative experience, number of students in the participants' schools, population of the community, type of legal professional development. Legal knowledge was measured by an 84-item survey, which included 8 demographic questions tied to the research questions, and 76 true/false statements. The survey was submitted via electronic mail to 1,093 principals; 332 were returned, for a response rate of 30.38%. Participants earned a mean score of 70.83%; a low of 55.26% and high of 93.42%. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests were performed, with significance established at [Special characters omitted.] = 0.05. ANOVA revealed significant relationships in recency of school law training and mean score on discipline subtest (0.027); years of administrative experience and total score (0.002), Arkansas law (0.005) and tort liability (0.042); population of community and discipline (0.023), federal law (0.039) and tort liability (0.048); and type of professional development and total score (0.000) and tort liability (0.029). Post hoc testing indicated that the highest total and subtest scores were earned by principals who received their school law training more than 10 years before the study, who had more 12 years of administrative experience, who lived in communities with populations between 5,000 and 9,999, and worked in schools student enrollments from 1,000 to 1,999 students. Principals who reported the Arkansas School Board Association (ASBA) or the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrator as their primary source of law-related professional development earned significantly higher scores than their peers who reported the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), district level staff, or legislative reports as their chief source of legal updates. The significant findings in the relationship between experience and size of school/community suggest that the application of the fundamental school law knowledge gained in principal preparation programs enabled administrators to earn higher overall and subtest scores. The implication is that experience is a critical factor in a principal's ability to move from basic to proficient knowledge of school law. The negative effects of inexperience can potentially be mitigated through professional develop which focuses on application of legal fundamentals. Recommendations include the collaboration of AAEA, ASBA and ADE to create a school law professional development model which is offered statewide to all public school administrators and included in the Beginning Administrator Induction Program. Further, it was recommended that ADE mandate that a portion of principals' required 60 professional development hours be in the area of school law. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas