A study of elementary principals' perceptions of accountability and leadership in an era of high stakes testing

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Essie Manley McKoy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Carl Lashley

Abstract: The most significant pressures facing school principals in this decade are accountability and the need for them to lead effectively. To better understand these challenges, the purpose of this research was to ascertain some of the perceptions of elementary school principals toward accountability, examine how accountability has affected their leadership role, determine which leadership frameworks most often produced accountability success, and how they manage their perceptions to lead to success. The literature speaks in specific terms both about accountability and the presented leadership frameworks. There is minimal research that examines the perceptions of elementary school principals and the dominant framework in which they operate to create success. In this qualitative study a forum was created inviting a purposeful sample of elementary school principals serving different types of schools. An interview-based approach was the primary research method used to gather data using the principles of grounded theory. Ten elementary school principals shared their perceptions of accountability and how they manage it, the effects of accountability, and what they thought to be their dominate leadership framework used to create success. Half of the participants were principals from highly impacted schools and the other half were from non-highly impacted schools. These participants' perceptions inform the reader about the experiences and perspectives of the different aspects of accountability and leadership in hopes of creating a deeper understanding. They did not simply share about these experiences--they allowed the reader to gain insight. Consequently, leadership issues were not viewed in unrealistic ways but as the reality of specific experiences that transpired in the lives of participants. While policy makers and school leaders focus heavily on academic performance for students, participants demonstrated that educating students is about far more than accountability. The whole child concept and other factors impacting academic achievement must be taken into consideration when creating accountability guidelines and mandates. Leaders who have listened and understood these experiences can be a voice of reason for policymakers and others helping to create accountability models. The experiences shared from this group of school principals demonstrate how this could be accomplished.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Accountability, Leadership, Leadership Frameworks, Perceptions, Principals, Testing
Elementary school principals $z United States $x Attitudes
Educational leadership $z United States
Educational accountability $z United States

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