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Title page for ETD etd-07052016-123531

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Mitani, Hajime
URN etd-07052016-123531
Title School Principals under Accountability
Degree PhD
Department Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jason A. Grissom Committee Chair
Gary T. Henry Committee Member
Mark Lipsey Committee Member
Ron Zimmer Committee Member
  • school leadership
  • NCLB
  • school principals
  • educational leadership
  • accountability
Date of Defense 2016-05-20
Availability unrestricted
The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was a performance-based school accountability system. The basic assumption behind this system was that its sanction system would provide adequate incentives for educators and administrators to change their behaviors and daily practices such that these changes would lead to improvements in student test scores in math and reading. Few studies have systematically investigated the effects of NCLB on school principals. Given the importance of school leadership in school improvement, it is critical to understand how school principals respond to accountability pressure. This dissertation fills this gap in the literature and focuses on to what extent the NCLB sanction system is associated with school principals’ working conditions, job stress, and turnover behaviors using longitudinal administrative data in the state of Missouri and responses from a national representative sample of school principals to the Schools and Staffing Survey administered during 2007-08 by the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S Department of Education. In addition, it assesses the design of the NCLB sanction system based on theories of motivations and incentives. I find that NCLB sanctions are associated with greater job stress and higher turnover rates, especially among inexperienced principals and principals serving a large number of underprivileged students. Yet, I find little evidence that job stress is a mediator between the NCLB sanctions and turnover. I also find multiple problems in the design of the sanction system that might affect principals negatively such as use of simple performance measures and a focus on quantity rather than quality. I conclude with implications and directions for future research.
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