Exploratory Factor Analysis: The Significance of Trust in a Revised Principal Academic Optimism Scale

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Virginia Tech

Principal Academic Optimism is an hypothesized latent construct that has strong theoretical foundations in both educational research and educational psychology. Academic Optimism derives from research on school academic optimism and teacher academic optimism, which originated via Hoys, Tarters, and Woolfolk Hoys (2006a; 2006b) merger of school climate research with research on learned optimism, stemming from Martin Seligmans (1998, 2006) research on positive psychology.

Principal Academic Optimism expands upon discoveries of School Academic Optimism and Teacher Academic Optimism. The theoretical framework of Principal Academic Optimism is built upon a strong research foundation of the organizational health model, social capital theory, social cognitive theory and positive psychology. The purpose of this research is to revise Riegel's (2012) Principal Academic Optimism Scale, thereby creating and testing a comprehensive measure of Principal Academic Optimism. The questionnaire used to accomplish this goal was a revised version of Riegel's Principal Academic Optimism Scale and Tschannen-Moran's and Gareis's (2004) Principal Trust Scale. By incorporating a measure for principal trust in faculty with a measure of principal trust in clients (parents and students), a more comprehensive measure of Principal Academic Optimism was validated and found reliable (α = 0.908).

Perhaps the most compelling finding of the study was the significant negative relationship between principals' perception of trust in clients whose schools have high percentages of students receiving free and reduced price lunches (r = -0.444; p < 0.05). Principals with high percentages of free and reduced price lunch rates explained 72.203% of the variance in principals' self-reported perception of trust in clients. Principals of schools with 61%-80% or 81%+ percentages of free and reduced price lunch rates reported lower levels of trust in clients (parents and students).

academic optimism, principal academic optimism, academic emphasis, collective efficacy, principal trust