Closing the Student Achievement Gap in California's Elementary Schools: A Teachers' Perspective on Transformational Instructional Leadership
Policymakers and educational leaders have expressed alarm regarding America's vast and growing Student Achievement Gap (SAG) problem. Although most agree that this issue deserves attention, consensus dissolves around how to resolve it. This research suggested that "closing" SAG requires an "Integrated" educational leadership approach called Transformational Instructional Leadership (TIL). TIL was empirically tested in four elementary schools from a local district undergoing Program-based school improvement/reform to address its SAG. A quantitative, one-shot, two-group, survey-based, quasi-experimental evaluation research design was used to gather teacher perceptions of their principals' TIL leadership during the improvement/reform effort. Descriptive and non-parametric inferential statistics were used to determine if in implementing the same program -- Response to Intervention (RtI), schools whose leaders were perceived to evidence greater TIL reduced their SAGs more than schools whose leaders were perceived to evidence less. While TIL factors were universally perceived as being "present" in "gap closing" schools and mostly "not present" in the "non gap closing" ones, TIL "Added" only some "Value" in closing all of these schools' SAGs over and above the "Value Added" by RtI itself. Findings such as these were interpreted to suggest that perhaps thinking and research about "Integrated" forms of educational leadership, like TIL, need to move more along Program-based, instructionally-defined lines if they are to address the Student Achievement Gap problem.
Academic achievement gaps;
0514: School administration