Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Missy Bennett

Committee Member 2

Barbara Mallory


Principals now find themselves in the age of accountability and improvements with the expectation that they will function as instructional leaders. Walkthroughs provide a vehicle for principals to step into the role of instructional leaders. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how elementary principals utilized walkthroughs in their role as instructional leaders. The researcher conducted the study in five elementary schools in a Georgia school district, located east of Atlanta, which invested resources to develop principals as instructional leaders by providing specific training in conducting walkthroughs. To accomplish the purpose of this study, the researcher analyzed the interview responses from the 20 participants of whom five were elementary principals and fifteen were elementary teachers. Documents related to walkthroughs, such as walkthrough forms and school improvement plans, were also analyzed. Using the basic interpretive approach, the researcher identified common themes that emerged from analysis and interpretation of the collected data. Findings of the study were congruent with the literature in terms of the purpose and benefits of walkthroughs. Elementary principals and teachers identified walkthroughs to be an instructional leadership strategy that provided a snapshot of the teaching and learning that occurred in the school. Principals and teachers reported that principals conducted walkthroughs to monitor the instructional program and student progress. Principals and teachers found walkthroughs to be beneficial. Walkthroughs allowed principals to maintain visibility, provide data driven professional learning, foster professional learning communities, promote individual teacher growth, and acknowledge teachers. The data also revealed that by conducting walkthroughs, principals were able to perform six of ten instructional leadership functions identified by Hallinger. Data suggested that the way walkthroughs are implemented in schools matters. All participants must have an understanding of the purpose and process of the walkthrough and the relevance of the data collected. Including teachers as walkthrough partners and focusing on student learning can have a positive impact on the school's learning climate. Implications of the study provided contributions to the literature on walkthroughs and suggested ways that principal walkthroughs can be used to promote continuous school improvements.

Research Data and Supplementary Material