Date of Award

12-2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Walter L. Burt

Second Advisor

Dr. Brett Geier

Third Advisor

Dr. Kelley Peatross

Abstract

Today, in this era of accountability, school improvement rests heavily on the shoulders of building principals. Apart from being managers of school operations, disciplinarians, and community leaders, these individuals are also expected to be strong instructional leaders (Crum & Sherman, 2008). Principals now must engage in strategies that will lead the cycle of continuous improvement. One such strategy that has emerged is classroom walkthroughs (Cervone & Martinez, 2007). Classroom walkthroughs serve as a vehicle through which principals can engage teachers in a process that can lead to positive effects on teaching strategies through instructional conferences (Blasé & Blasé, 1998; King, 1991).

Approximately 2,000 principals in the continental United States were identified as having been trained in the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program during the 2010-2016 school years. With support from the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program developer, Dr. Carolyn Downey, and the International office of Phi Delta Kappan (PDK), the names of program participants were identified and requested to participate in a study that would identify the degree to which they were able to implement the tenets of the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program.

To ensure a high degree of validity of the instrument, the student researcher identified 15 “experts” trained in the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program and had been responsible for training principals throughout the continental United States during the 2010-2016 school years. Experts were asked to indicate the degree to which they felt the 62-item Three-Minute Walkthrough Program Training Instrument reflected the skills that principals were expected to assess with teachers during the Three-Minute Walkthrough process (e.g., Core Tenets of Three-Minute Walkthrough – 6 items, Pre-Three-Minute Walkthrough Preparation – 3 items, Post Three-Minute Walkthrough Reflection – 22 items). The instrument was organized according to content skill areas and experts were asked to indicate whether they “agree” or “did not agree” that they provided training to principals on each of the 62 items listed in the Three-Minute Walkthrough Checklist. The 15 “experts” were mailed the revised instruments and 15 (100%) completed and returned the instrument. A 90% level of agreement was established between experts for determining an “acceptable” item that would be included in the final instrument.

The revised instrument was mailed to 2,000 principals who had participated in the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program during the 2010-2016 school years. Participants were provided a cover letter explaining the purpose of the study, along with Western Michigan University’s HSIRB requirements. Of the 2,000 instruments mailed, 790 principals (29.7%) returned the survey instrument.

Five research questions were identified and tested in this study. The SPSS software package, Version 25, was utilized to organize the data for statistical analysis. To test the research questions, descriptive statistics were used to describe nominal variables, a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test interval variables, and a linear regression analysis was used to determine whether size of the student population, years of principalship experience, gender, ethnic background, and age of principal influenced principals’ decision-making when assessing teachers during the Three-Minute Walkthrough process. In all test applications, the 0.05 level of confidence was used for determining statistical significance. The findings in this study clearly suggested that principals with more administrative experience were able to implement the tenets of the Three-Minute Walkthrough Program than less experienced administrators and that the gender, race, years of administrative experience, and size of the student population did not have any influence on the principals’ decision-making regarding the implementation of the Three-Minute Walkthrough tenets.

The study concluded with three recommendations for further study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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