Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Richard Harnett


This study examines the relationship between the leadership styles of principals in smaller learning communities and rates of ninth grade students' success. To examine this relationship, the Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire was used to collect data from ninth grade teachers regarding the principal's leadership style. This survey was used along with a demographic questionnaire given to the principals that collected information regarding the age, gender, number of years experience, highest degree earned, certification, and ninth grade student achievement data. These surveys were sent to 302 public high schools that qualified for a Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) Grant in 2003. The schools include Cohort A (204 schools) and Cohort B (98 schools). The principals delivered the surveys to their ninth grade teachers, and the teachers completed them and returned them in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Responses were received from 456 teachers and 124 high school administrators. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, ANOVA, MANOVA, including normality, homogeneity of variance/covariance were assessed. Pearson's correlation coefficients and cross-tabulations were used to examine patterns in the data.;Major research findings indicate a large percentage (48.5 percent) of principals did not use a particular style of leadership, and their leadership did not significantly impact student achievement. With respect to leadership styles, it was found that principals from high schools in Smaller Learning Communities (Cohort 3), used a multi-frame approach (31.1 percent), followed by the single-frame (11.1 percent), and finally the paired-frame (9 percent) approaches. Another significant finding was that learning achievement in algebra of students from smaller schools was significantly higher than that of students from larger schools.;Recommendations from this study include implementation of professional development activities for principals from large high schools that includes an increased awareness of their personal leadership orientation, as well as development of multi-frame leadership practices in order to improve their leadership effectiveness.