Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Dr. Jianping Shen
Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer
Dr. Jessaca Spybrook
Principal leadership, student achievement, meta-analysis, effect size, school effectiveness, school leaders
Principal leadership has been widely considered as a significant factor for school improvement and student learning. However, there are discrepancies among previous findings and controversies on both the magnitude and nature of the relationship between principal leadership and student achievement. The purpose of this study is to further the understanding of whether and how principal leadership influences student achievement.
This study is a systematic review and multivariate meta-analysis of 42 empirical studies about principal leadership’s effects on student achievement, generated during the period between 2000 and 2020 in the United States. There were three parts for the analyses: (a) a multivariate meta meta-analysis based on 12 previous meta-analyses was conducted to examine principal leadership’s effects on student achievement; (b) a multivariate meta-analysis was conducted to examine principal leadership’s effects on student achievement by seven learning-centered leadership dimensions; and (c) a multivariate meta-analysis was conducted to investigate principal leadership’s effects on student achievement by analytic methodologies and conceptual models.
This study has four key findings. First, based on more studies on this topic accumulated over the years, there is a trend toward more consistent and precise estimates of principal leader-ship’s effect on student achievement. Second, there is consistent and overwhelming evidence of the positive relationship between principal leadership and student achievement. Third, most of the seven dimensions of learning-centered principal leadership are statistically positively related to student achievement as reflected in (a) direct effect without control and/or moderation, and (b) indirect effect. The dimension of “promoting coherent curriculum programs” has the largest direct and indirect effect on student achievement. Finally, the differences in research results could be explained by the analytic methodologies employed by researchers. However, the effects of principal leadership on student achievement are almost always present given the various conceptualizations and corresponding analytic methodologies.
The implications of the findings for both research and practice are discussed. The limitations of this study’s research and suggestions for future research are also provided.
Wu, Huang, "The Effect of Principal Leadership on Student Achievement: A Multivariate Meta-Analysis" (2020). Dissertations. 3630.