Principal Self-efficacy as a Predictor of Student Achievement and Differences among Principals at Turnaround Versus Fully Accredited Schools in One Urban Virginia School Division
Walter, Glenda Powell
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The intent of this non-experimental correlational and comparative study was to determine the extent to which self-efficacy predicts student achievement as well as the differences between the self-efficacy beliefs of principals in turnaround and fully accredited schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in one urban Virginia school division. Principal leaders should be selected based on expertise related to their assigned school needs and challenges (Murphy, 2010a). Turnaround schools in the process of improvement present a distinct challenge and require individualized applications of effective leadership practices (Leithwood, Harris and Strauss, 2010). Principal self-efficacy is defined as, "...a judgment of his or her own capabilities to structure a particular course of action in order to produce desired outcomes in the school he or she leads" (Tschannen-Moran and Gareis, 2004, p. 573). Overall principal self-efficacy as well as efficacy for management, instructional leadership, and moral leadership were measured using the Principal Sense of Efficacy Scale (PSES) (Tschannen-Moran and Gareis, 2004). The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment results for reading and mathematics, specifically the overall school pass rates by subject, were used as indicators of student achievement. The researcher sought to examine the usefulness of measuring self-efficacy as a potential method for identifying and assigning principals to specific school contexts based on any relationships and differences revealed by the data. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to predict student achievement in reading and mathematics from overall principal self-efficacy and the three principal efficacy subscales while controlling for poverty. An independent samples t-test was conducted to compare the self-efficacy of principals at turnaround and fully accredited schools. Analysis of the predictive relationship between principal self-efficacy and student achievement in reading and mathematics failed to reveal significant findings. Comparative analysis of the mean self-efficacy for turnaround and fully accredited school principals further failed to reveal statistically significant differences. Calculated effect size of the differences between the groups indicated a medium effect. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research were developed from the findings.
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