Identifying Principals' Practices that Affect Achievement and Accreditation of Public Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in Virginia
Williams, Gary Oaka
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the practices of elementary, middle, and high school principals that are associated with the Standards of Learning accreditation status of schools in Virginia. A number of factors that discriminate between Accredited with Warning and Fully Accredited schools were investigated. Questionnaires were administered to 142 principals and 567 teachers. Items in the questionnaires were associated with sub-domains that affect the accreditation status of schools. Characteristics of principals, teachers, and schools were collected in a demographic section of each questionnaire. A principal components analysis was applied to reduce the number of sub-domains to a smaller set of meaningful measures. A combination of predictor variables was used in the final analysis. They are factors derived from the characteristics of principalsâ principalâ s years of experience, principalâ s years of experience in his or her current position, gender of the principal, principalâ s highest degree (masterâ s or less or more than masterâ s); and principalâ s school level assignment (elementary, middle, or high); characteristics of schoolsâ percentage of children receiving free or reduced-price lunches and school setting (urban, suburban, or rural); and principal practices--providing instructional assistance and support, establishing infrastructure, implementing the curriculum, and being sensitive to students. The overall Wilksâ lambda (Î»=.69) was significant (p<.00) indicating that the predictors discriminated between the two groups. Discriminant function analysis indicated that the best predictors of accreditation status were percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches, school setting urban v. other (suburban and rural), principal assignment middle v. other (elementary and high), and principal assignment elementary v. other (middle and high). When classification analysis was applied, 79.5 percent of the cases for Accredited with Warning and Fully Accredited schools were correctly classified. Schools Accredited with Warning had higher mean scores on the percentage of children receiving free or reduced-price lunches. These schools were more likely to be in urban settings than suburban or rural settings, and they were more likely to be middle schools than elementary or high schools. Fully Accredited schools were more likely to be elementary schools than middle or high schools. None of the principalsâ practices--providing instructional assistance and support, establishing infrastructure, implementing the curriculum, and being sensitive to students--discriminated between the two levels of accreditation status of the schools.
- Doctoral Dissertations 
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