A study of teachers' perceptions of the principal as an instructional leader: A comparative analysis of elementary, middle, and senior high school principals

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Solomon C. Stinson

Third Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Fourth Advisor's Name

Allen Fisher

Date of Defense



Research and practice have consistently shown that instructional leadership is a rnajor determinant of successful schools. In school districts across the country, calls regarding the need for and importance of instructional leadership and its relationship to student achievement are being heard. Many building principals and superintendents have articulated a vision for instructional leadership. Many practicing administrators have defined themselves not as principals or administrators, but as "instructional leaders."

The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perceptions of their principals as instructional leaders in elementary, middle, and senior high schools. A survey was conducted utilizing the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) which provides a profile of principal performance on ten (10) instructional leadership job functions associated with effective schools. Selected senior, middle, and elementary schools from a large urban school district in the United States participated in the study. The sample population of teachers surveyed was 514.

Variables examined in the study included the principals' school level (elementary, middle, and senior high) and gender. One way multivariate analysis of variance was performed on the ten leadership behaviors identified in the PIMRS by school level and principal gender. To explore further, univariate ANOVAs were carried out on each leadership behavior separately by school level.

The results of this study revealed that, overall, there is a difference in teachers' perceptions of principals. These differences appear to be a result of both the school level and gender of the principal. There was a significant difference of teachers' perceptions regarding the instructional leadership of principals at the elementary, middle, and senior high school levels. With respect to school levels, the results of this study present a compelling argument for enhancing the instructional leadership role of the principal at the middle school level. It further provides and promotes an equitable appreciation and opportunity for instructional leadership by principals.



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