Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Abebayehu Tekleselassie

Committee Member 2

Walter Polka

Abstract

The leadership focus for school improvement has changed from managing the political environment of the school to focusing on continuous improvement. The purpose of this study was to examine Georgia school principals' practices that are used to improve student achievement in order to meet Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP). The study included elementary, middle, and high school principals from selected schools that made AYP. Focus groups from each of the schools were also interviewed and included parents, teachers and other school leadership. The same interview questions asked of the principal were also asked of the focus groups. The responses from the unstructured interviews were reported in narrative form and identified leadership practices principals used to improve student achievement. After conducting a thorough review of literature in the area of school principals practices, the relationship of the impact of practices and student achievement was examined. The findings of the study included organizing the school to support students who are struggling academically, communication of expectations, and controlling the instructional program. This study also found differences between elementary and middle and high schools: The community and school leaders' beliefs at the elementary level were primarily related to instructional practices, whereas at the middle and high school levels more focus was placed on programmatic practices. Based on the results, the study concluded that principals' practices can impact the potential for a school making AYP, but continued educational research is needed to expand the understanding of the specific practices that principals need in order to create environments in which students can achieve higher levels of learning.

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