Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Robert J. Hanny


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the degree to which a principal demonstrates instructional leadership and student achievement in small high schools in Virginia. This inquiry was an extension of previous research which has examined the relationship between these two variables in urban elementary schools. The study controlled for the effects of the socioeconomic status of the students, which has been demonstrated through research to have an important impact on student achievement.;Forty-four high schools with enrollments in grades 10-12 of 500 or less students participated in the study. Teacher and supervisor questionnaires were used to measure principal instructional leadership. Student Achievement was measured by the schools' results on the Test of Achievement and Proficiency, which is the 11th grade component of the Virginia State Assessment Program. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced meals at each school served as the surrogate variable for socioeconomic status.;It was hypothesized that (1) there would be a negative relationship between student achievement and socioeconomic status (i.e., the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced meals) and (2) after controlling for the effects of socioeconomic status, there would be a positive relationship between student achievement and principal instructional leadership.;It was concluded that there is a negative relationship between student achievement and socioeconomic status. It was further concluded that the results of the study do not support the hypothesis that principal instructional leadership has a statistically significant relationship with student achievement.;Further study is needed to examine the complex nature of the instructional leadership construct. Research should be conducted to determine how the principal's managerial efforts influence the teaching-learning process. In addition, the roles played by other individuals, such as other administrators, teachers, and parents should be investigated as to how principals can coordinate the efforts of these individuals to enhance student achievement.



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