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ERIC Number: ED545918
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 139
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-0141-7
Efficacy and Academic Emphasis: A Leadership Factor in Elementary School Principals, and Its Relationship to Hope, Resilience, Optimism, and View of Intelligence
Riegel, Lisa A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
The goal of this research was to explore the construct of academic optimism at the principal level and examine possible explanatory variables for the factors that emerged from the principal academic optimism scale. Academic optimism contains efficacy, trust and academic emphasis (Hoy, Tarter & Woolfolk Hoy, 2006). It has been studied at the individual and collective level and has been shown to predict academic achievement, even after controlling for socio-economic status and prior student achievement (Hoy, Tarter and Woolfolk Hoy, 2006; McGuigan & Hoy, 2006; Hoy & Smith, 2007). Academic optimism is also associated with a number of positive organizational behaviors, including professional success (Lee, Dedrick, & Smith, 1991), and a more humanistic (Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990) and student-centered approach (Czerniak & Schriver, 1994). In its 2011 report on school principal effectiveness, the Wallace Foundation noted that principal leadership is among the most pressing matters on a list of public school issues, coming in second after teacher quality. Because of academic optimism's relationship to positive outcomes and behaviors at the teacher level, and because the principal plays a vital role in establishing school climate and trust (Aelterman, Engels, Verhaeghe, Sys, Van Petegem, & Panagiotou, 2002), this dissertation study explored principal academic optimism. Human resource literature has also connected hope, resilience, and optimism to positive organizational behaviors (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007). This research investigated these variables as possible predictors of the factors that emerged from the principal academic optimism scale. I added view of intelligence as a possible predictor, because the impact one's view of intelligence has on motivation and resilience has been noted in the literature (Burns & Isbell, 2007; Dweck, 1999). Much of the literature on principal leadership also notes the importance of context. When considering possible explanatory variables, I examined a number of demographic variables, including the size of the school, the principal's experience, the free and reduced lunch population and the type of school as rural, urban or suburban. This study's sample contained 95 elementary school principals from Ohio. These principals completed two surveys administered at different times. The first survey was a principal academic optimism scale, created for this study. The second survey combined items from current instruments used to measure hope, resilience, optimism and view of intelligence. Factor analysis and multiple regression analyses were used to examine the data. The factor analysis of the principal academic optimism scale revealed that the components of academic optimism (efficacy, trust, and academic emphasis) divided into six variables: efficacy in instructional supervision; efficacy in management; trust in students; trust in parents; academic emphasis; and celebration of success. Further principal axis factor analysis with varimax rotation on these six variables revealed two factors, the leadership factor and trust. The leadership factor contained both efficacy variables, the celebration of success, and academic emphasis. The second factor contained trust in parents and trust in students. Based on the results, there was a concern that despite the emergence of the trust factor, insufficient construct coverage was available to ensure validity of the use of this factor. Therefore, while acknowledging this limitation, for the remainder of this dissertation study, I focused on the leadership factor. The regression analyses revealed that resilience alone was able to predict nearly a quarter of the variance in the leadership factor. The demographic variables, even with interactions considered, were not significant predictors of the leadership factor. The most important contribution this dissertation study makes to the discussion of principal leadership is the emergence of the leadership factor, which is principal behavior grounded in a sense of efficacy to provide both instructional leadership and effective management as well as to emphasize and celebrate academic success of students. Although academic optimism has been confirmed as a school-level and teacher-level second-order latent construct containing efficacy, trust in clients, and academic emphasis, it was not confirmed at the principal level. The study also found that resilience appears to be a key predictor of the leadership factor, explaining nearly a quarter of the variance. [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 Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio