Teachers’ Perception of the Presence of Teacher Leadership and ARMT+ Percent Proficient in Alabama’s Public Elementary Schools: A Correlation Study
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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For over four decades, the concept of teacher leadership has been debated nationally and internationally with a view of establishing its role in student learning and achievements in schools. Over this period, a sizeable amount of literature has been written with regards to teacher and school administration leadership. However, studies remain inconclusive regarding teacher leadership and standardized scores. To further explore this topic, this study investigated the relationship between teachers’ perception of the presence of teacher leadership and schools’ state mandated test results in Alabama's elementary schools. A total of 630 teachers from 49 elementary schools in Alabama participated in the study. Results were analyzed, both as a whole and controlling for socioeconomic status and school size. A newly developed survey instrument whose underpinning was the seven domains outlined in the Teacher Leadership Model Standards garnered data. The seven domains are below: Domain I: Fostering a Collaborative Culture to Support Educator Development and Student Learning Domain II: Accessing and Using Research to Improve Practice and Student Learning Domain III: Promoting Professional Learning for Continuous Improvement Domain IV: Facilitating Improvements in Instruction and Student Learning Domain V: Promoting the Use of Assessments and Data for School and District Improvement Domain VI: Improving Outreach and Collaboration with Families and Community Domain VII: Advocating for Student Learning and the Profession Student achievement data, 2011–2012 Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test Plus percent proficient, were gathered from participating schools. Descriptive statistics, Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient, and Multiple Regression analyzed the data. The domain that was reported as most present in the sampled schools was domain 5 which focused on assessments and data. The statement that had the highest overall average in domain 5 is the statement: Teachers at my school facilitate collaborative interpretation of data results. Conversely, the domain that was reported as least present in the sampled school was domain 6 which focused on improving outreach and collaboration with families and community. The statement that was reported as least present was the statement: Teachers at my school develop a shared understanding among colleagues of the diverse educational needs of families. Analyses demonstrated a non-significant correlation between teacher leadership and student achievement. Moreover, further testing showed that school size and socioeconomic status did not significantly predict student achievement. Potential factors might have mediated the effect of teacher leadership on student performance; specifically, teacher commitment, teacher quality, and school culture. However, Smylie found that “the most well-designed studies—those that examine longer periods of implementation, rely on more objective data, employ multiple measures, and take role performance variation into account—tend to reveal the most positive outcomes” (1997, p. 576). Recommendations for teacher leaders, school administrators, policy makers and future researchers were offered.