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ERIC Number: ED519669
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 195
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-0514-7
Leadership Responsibilities Associated with Student Academic Achievement: A Study of the Perspectives of National Distinguished Elementary School Principals in an Era of High Stakes Accountability
Valenti, Michael
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Seton Hall University
The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), and the resulting intense focus on standards and student accountability, has changed the education environment significantly (Rammer, 2007). Ultimately, the mounting pressures from federal and state agencies, that all students reach 100% proficiency in reading and math by the year 2014, have rested on the shoulders of school principals. With so much at stake, strong leadership has become critical in order for school reform to be effective and sustained. A self-administered survey instrument was used to collect quantitative data about the level to which elementary school leaders, recognized as National Distinguished Principals during the years 2007, 2008, and 2009 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), agreed on the responsibilities that have the most significant impact on student achievement when guiding complex change, and how leadership behaviors have been influenced since the onset of more rigorous high-stakes standards and accountability measures implemented by the No Child Left Behind Act. Building on the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning's (McREL) 21 principal leadership responsibilities and the Balanced Leadership Framework (Waters, Marzano, and McNulty, 2003), this study explored 11 of the 21 responsibilities associated with significantly improving student achievement. These 11 "second order" principal responsibilities were selected based on the difficulty and effort required in meeting NCLB mandates. The data suggested that all 11 behaviors identified by Waters, Marzano, and McNulty (2003) were considered important. However, the three most important leadership responsibilities, when guiding complex change and improving student achievement, were, (1) establishing strong lines of communication with and among teachers and students (Communication); (2) monitoring the effectiveness of school practices and their impact on student learning (Monitoring/Evaluating); and (3) fostering shared beliefs and a sense of community and cooperation (Culture). Participating National Distinguished Principals reported their effectiveness in executing the responsibilities of monitoring and evaluating the curriculum, instruction, and assessment (Monitoring/Evaluating); consciously challenging the status quo, being comfortable in leading change initiatives with uncertain outcomes, and systematically considering new and better ways of doing things (Change Agent); staying informed about current research and theory regarding effective schooling, and continually exposing teachers and staff to cutting-edge ideas about how to be effective (Intellectual Stimulation); being knowledgeable about curriculum, instructional, and assessment practices, and providing conceptual guidance for teachers regarding effective classroom practice (Knowledge of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment), have been the most influenced by the accountability measures associated with NCLB. Insights gained by this investigation will provide opportunities for those interested in educational leadership at the level of the school principal to reflect upon. Identifying and examining the practices of nationally recognized elementary school principals contributes to the growing knowledge of the leadership responsibilities and behaviors demonstrated by effective principals; provides implications for future principal development, preparation, training, and hiring practices; and helps principals do a better job in their role as instructional leaders, which may ultimately have a positive impact on student achievement. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001