Relationship among school characteristics, principal's characteristics and leadership style, and achievement

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Chair


The relationships among school principals' leadership style(s), selected school variables, school principals' personal demographic variables, and school achievement were investigated. The school principals' leadership styles were defined by scores in the Leadership Orientations Profile. The selected school variables were percentages of Black and Hispanic students, number of students enrolled, and students on the free/reduced lunch program. The selected personal variables were principals' age, gender, and ethnicity. School achievement was defined as performance in the annual state-mandated tests for students in all public schools in a Southeastern state. Data were gathered through self-administered surveys completed by 115 school principals from elementary (n = 77), middle (n = 24), and high schools (n = 14). The mean age of the subjects was 51.5 and the sample was comprised of 39% males, 61% females, 33% White Non Hispanic, 35% Hispanic, and 31% Black Non Hispanic. The results of multiple regression analyses indicated that (a) higher achievement scores on one of the four portions of the state-mandated test were related to the principals' reported usage of the structural and symbolic leadership styles while scores were lower in schools with principals who identified their styles with the political frame, and (b) lower scores in all portions of the state-mandated test were reported by schools with higher numbers of students on the free/reduced lunch program. Findings do not support the theory that school principals' leadership style(s) are shaped by all the selected variables and that these styles affect student achievement at the principals' schools. Implications for theory, research, practice, and policy are discussed.


Education, Administration; Education, Higher

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