Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Choi, Namok

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Munoz, Marco

Committee Member

Munoz, Marco

Committee Member

Haselton, Blake

Committee Member

Larson, Ann


Educational leadership; Academic achievement


Leadership is crucial in schools, especially when implementing change. Research shows that leadership can have a positive effect, albeit indirect, on student achievement (Cheng, 1994; Heck, Larsen & Marcoulides, 1990; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; and Johnson, Livingston, Schwartz, & Slate, 2000). This indirect effect implies a need for teacher expertise and distributed leadership to increase teacher buy-in for reform movements in schools. Recent studies have attempted to tie leadership to student achievement (Heck, et al., 1990; Chen, 1994; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Johnson, et al., 2000; Heck & Hallinger, 2009; Leithwood, Patten, & Jantzi, 2010; Supovitz, Sirinides, & May, 2010; New Teacher Center, 2011), hoping to clarify literature that at times is ambiguous and confusing (Leithwood, et al. 2010). Also, authors have cited little empirical research regarding the relationships between leadership and achievement (Leithwood, et al., 2010). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher perceptions of leadership constructs (Teacher Leadership and School Leadership) and student achievement on the Next-Generation Learner components of Kentucky’s accountability system. A non-experimental correlational design was used with a nonrandom sample of existing data. This study employed canonical correlation and 3 x 3 factorial MANOVA to identify relationships between the leadership variables and student achievement variables. The sample included a population of Kentucky teachers and students reported on the school level (N = 1033). Data were obtained from the 2013 administration of the Kentucky Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Survey for leadership perceptions, and from the 2013 K-PREP test for student achievement data. The leadership variable set included the factors of Teacher Leadership and School Leadership, and the student achievement variable set included Achievement, Gap, and Growth scores from the K-PREP. Results from the canonical correlation analysis indicated that there was a significant positive canonical correlation that was large in magnitude between both School Leadership and Teacher Leadership and all student achievement variables. Results from the MANOVA indicated a statistically significant difference between schools with high, medium, and low Teacher Leadership and all student achievement variables (p = .020), and post hoc comparisons indicated that the means were significantly different among all groups. Group Teacher Leadership means increased as student achievement scores increased. Implications and recommendations for teachers, school administrators, and higher education administrators are discussed.