Browsing Hood College by Subject "Academic Optimism"
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ItemThe Relationship Between Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Principal’s Authentic Leadership and Their Own Academic Optimism in Title I Elementary Schools(2022-12-14) Drill, Noah; Cuddapah, Jennifer; Hood College Graduate School; Hood College Organizational LeadershipAcademic optimism (AO) is positively correlated for student achievement and is comprised of three constructs: academic emphasis, collective efficacy, and trust in students and parents. In essence, AO is the permeated belief of a teacher that academic achievement is important, that teachers can effectively increase student achievement, and that students and parents are trusted partners in the learning process. As effective principal leadership is vital towards developing and maintaining effective schools and improving student achievement, the development of AO in teachers must be analyzed within the context of leadership. If school principals were to increase the AO of their staff, student achievement would likely increase. In this exploratory study, I examined this relationship through the lens of authentic leadership (AL), an area of research that emphasizes genuine and ‘real’ leadership. I focused on the interaction between perceptions of principals’ leadership behaviors (i.e., AL) and teachers’ belief systems, measured through AO. A survey containing valid and reliable measurement scales for AO, AL and four control variables (i.e., gender, race, years of experience, Enabling School Structure) as well as supplemental open-ended prompts was sent through Survey Monkey to all of the 2,124 Title I elementary school teachers in XCPS, a large, diverse public school system in the Mid-Atlantic region. The survey received 245 complete responses that met criterion for inclusion. Using cross-sectional survey data analyzed with hierarchical multiple regression, this study investigated the relationship between teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s AL and their own AO. I found that after accounting for the control variables, AL was a statistically significant predictor of AO, collective efficacy, and trust in students and parents, two of AO’s three components. Given that AO predicts student achievement, it is notable that principals’ AL was positively, moderately correlated with teachers’ AO, as AL could thereby also indirectly result in increased student achievement. Additionally, the qualitative data from the open-ended responses suggested that teachers who perceived that their principal demonstrates authentic leadership had higher beliefs in their own ability to successfully teach and for their students to successfully learn. Thus, schools and school systems should consider focusing their leadership development programs and processes around developing authentic leaders. As academic interventions, strategies and processes that are successful in Title I schools tend to generalize well to other schools, comparable results could occur in schools across the nation.