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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Because of the importance of developing highly skilled school leaders, statewide assessments of 784 Texas public school administrators were compared in a causal-comparison study to determine how leadership skills varied by type of campus (urban, suburban and rural) and by campus student achievement ratings. Data were collected from a 2006-2008 Texas state-approved principal performance assessment, Principal Assessment of Student Success (PASS). Principal leadership skills identified in PASS were compared within campus student achievement categories as measured by Texas (No Child Left Behind) public school accountability ratings, and data were disaggregated by campus type (urban, suburban, rural). Important findings indicate that leadership skills of urban, suburban, and rural principals at campuses with the state’s highest student academic achievement ratings differ from skills of principals at schools with lower student academic achievement ratings. Study findings indicate that principals from all campus achievement levels demonstrate functional domain (managerial) skills; however, as principals increasingly demonstrate programming domain (systemic) skills, campus student achievement increases. This finding suggests the need for professional development aimed at nurturing systemic practices among campus leaders. In addition, clear communication, both individually (i.e. Oral Expression) and within groups (i.e. Staff Development) appears to differentiate leaders at more highly rated campuses, indicating a need to develop these skills to a greater extent.

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