NameGonzález, Raymond A. (author), Firestone, William (chair), Baker, Bruce (internal member), Sadovnik, Alan (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education,
SubjectEducational Administration and Supervision,
Middle school students--New Jersey,
Middle school principals--New Jersey--Interviews,
Educational accountability--New Jersey,
Educational accountability—Law and legislation--New Jersey,
Educational indicators--New Jersey
DescriptionProblem: As the United States Department of Education prepares to reauthorize ESEA once more, it does so in light of the reality that over 80% of schools will be considered in need of improvement by 2014 according to the adequate yearly progress targets (Duncan, 2011). Politicians, educators, and the general citizenry of the United States are concerned with how effective public schools are at educating our children; however, the current measurement of success is based heavily upon performance on high stakes assessments. Unfortunately, responding to NCLB demands are not the only things on the mind of school leaders. On any given day, there are a number of pressures that principals must consider in order to effectively manage the administrative and instructional aspects of running a school. Guided by the following research questions, this study explores how forces that are both internal and external to the principal influence the ways school leaders conceptualize and respond to accountability. • To whom or what do principals feel most accountable? • How do forces internal and external to the principal shape their conceptions of multiple sources of accountability? • How does it happen differently in high and low performing schools? • How does it happen differently in contexts that vary according to SES? • How do principals’ conceptions of accountability shape what they do to promote student achievement? Method: This phenomenological collective case study collected data from 25 public middle school principals throughout New Jersey who lead schools that varied in socioeconomic and academic performance contexts. A pre-interview survey and follow up interview provided the basis for the data collection. The transcribed interviews were coded and analyzed according to the conceptual framework and research questions that guided the inquiry. Findings: Accountability to self is the most prominent source of accountability among the middle school principals in this study despite the prevalence of external accountability forces. When adding those who feel most accountable to teachers, it is apparent that most principals from higher achieving schools respond first to an internal accountability mechanism. Principals who identify an external source of accountability as most salient exhibit common attributes according to the school’s improvement status, SES, and academic achievement. Significance: Although public and political attention is often focused on test-based accountability, there are other sources of accountability that receive less attention, especially as it relates to school leadership. This study adds to the research on the topic of educational accountability and leadership practices by exploring the concept from the perspective of a principal. As a result of the findings, the study also supports a better understanding of the perceptions of internal accountability among school leaders.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Raymond A. González
CollectionGraduate School of Education Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.