Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Stephen K. Miller (Director), Lisa D. Murley, and Jie Zhang

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Teacher leadership is one of the key components of school success. However, teacher leader education has not been the focus of research. This quantitative study explores the central research question: What are the perceptions of teachers completing the Western Kentucky University Masters of Art in Education (MAE) Teacher Leader Program regarding their level of professional preparation?

A Likert-type double matrix descriptive survey with correlational design covered students’ perceptions of level of professional preparation on a 5-point scale at the beginning and the end of the program for the ten MAE Program Standards. All data were gathered from students in the MAE Teacher Leader Program via e-mail using Qualtrics software. The population encompassed the first two cohorts to complete the program, 107 students; the sample consisted of 46 students (43%) who responded to the survey with usable data. Descriptive statistics and psychometric analyses (Cronbach’s alpha computed on the respective sets of substandards for each Program Standard) were calculated. The research questions examined (a) student perceptions of their professional preparation at the end of the program, (b) differences from beginning to end of the program, and (c) relationships between socio-demographic factors and students' current preparation for the standards.

Students reported that they are prepared to teach the 10 MAE Program Standards after program completion with means ranging from 4.07 to 4.47 on the 5-point scale. Students in the MAE in Elementary Education Programs and Middle Grades Education felt best prepared, while students in the MAE Special Education Programs showed the least confidence in their professional preparation. There was a significant improvement in students’ self-perception about their professional preparation from the beginning to the end of the program for all students based on paired t tests. Similar mean comparisons on the difference between beginning and current value on the 10 standard showed that the improvements are significant for all strands except MAE in Special Education. Regarding socio-demographic factors, age and teacher experience were significantly related to students’ perceptions of their educational preparation for six and seven of the ten standards, respectively. The study highlighted the program's strengths and provided insights toward program improvement.


Education | Educational Leadership | Teacher Education and Professional Development