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

Fiene, Jeanne R.

Author's Keywords

Achievement; Teacher leaders; Student learning; Student achievement; School reform; Teaching & learning; Learning community


Teacher effectiveness; Educational leadership; Academic achievement


Research literature acknowledges the importance of teacher leadership in school reform initiatives. The literature is replete with qualitative studies describing the experience of teacher leadership in its variety of enactments. The meager amount of existing quantitative data suggests that teacher leadership may have no impact on student learning. This non-experimental, quantitative study examined the relationship between specific teacher leader interactions with teachers and student achievement. Using an online survey, participants responded to online survey questions about their interactions with teachers around five leadership constructs identified by Lambert (1998) and adapted by the researcher with permission from Dr. Lambert and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). The constructs included (a) broad-based and skillful participation in the work of leadership; (b) inquiry-based use of information to inform shared decisions and practice; (c) roles and responsibilities that reflect broad involvement and collaboration; (d) reflective practice/innovation as the norm; and, (e) high student achievement. Student achievement was measured using the 2008 School Academic Index of the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT). Participants in the study were teachers from Kentucky public elementary schools in the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC). The following research question guided the study: What is the relationship between interactions between (a) teacher leaders and teachers, and (b) test scores for schools on the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) after controlling for demographic factors known to negatively impact test scores? Multiple regression analysis was used to answer the research question. Because the variable correlations using data from all respondents (N = 567) were not strong enough to support a regression analysis, sub-groups of the surveyed participants were tested. Stronger correlations were found between all variables when responses from intermediate (Gr. 4-6) teachers (N = 202) were tested. The regression analysis was run using only intermediate teacher data. Identification of a teacher leader in the building negatively correlated with student achievement. Interactions related to the student achievement construct was noted as a significant predictor of student achievement as measured by the School Academic Index of the KCCT.