Publication Date

Fall 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Gary Houchens (Director), John Millay, and Douglas Clayton Smith

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


In an era of increased accountability and educational reform, schools and districts are searching for strategies to increase student achievement. The principal’s role has changed during the quest for school improvement to being an instructional leader. Principals are seeking knowledge to improve leadership behaviors and approaches to ultimately enhance student achievement. The perceptions of teachers concerning principal leadership behaviors and school culture are vital to educational growth.

This quantitative research study expands the focus of principal instructional leadership and school culture by examining their relationships to student achievement. Hallinger’s (2011) Leadership for Learning model provides a theoretical framework for this study. Specifically, this research will help to determine whether teachers’ perceptions of school leadership behaviors and school culture are related to student academic performance in Kentucky elementary schools. The central research question encapsulates the purpose of this study and investigates Hallinger’s model: To what extent are instructional leadership and school culture related to student achievement in Kentucky elementary schools?

Secondary data are analyzed from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) in the form of achievement scores from 2014-15 Unbridled Learning state assessments and teacher perception data from the 2014-15 School Improvement Scholastic Review (SISR) survey in order to establish the direct and indirect effects of school leadership on student achievement while controlling for demographic factors. The SISR was developed by a research team at Western Kentucky University and is adapted from the Standards and Indicators for School Improvement (SISI). This study contributes to the research on the validity and reliability of the SISR.

Descriptive statistics and multiple regressions are utilized to establish the relationships among the variables. The results of the research quantify the impact of leadership and school culture on student achievement. In addition, this study adds to the research regarding the magnitude of socioeconomic status on student achievement; it suggests the SISR is a promising measure as a teacher perception survey.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods