Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Dennis A. Bunch

Second Advisor

Tom Burnham

Third Advisor

John Holleman

Relational Format



Since the creation of the principal's position, the role of principal has evolved from building manager and disciplinarian to a multi-faceted role responsible for strategic planning, managing funds, ensuring legislative compliance, implementing reforms, and increasing student achievement. Past research contends principal leadership may be the second most influential factor in student achievement, surpassed only by the effect of the classroom teacher (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005; Joyce & Showers, 2002). The role of the university Principal Preparation Program (PPP) is to equip participants with effective leadership practices to face the demands of school leadership roles (Duncan et al., 2011; Hernandez et al., 2012); however, the consensus among stakeholders is principal preparation programs have failed to keep up with the changing principal's role (Reed & Kinsler, 2010; Miller, 2013; Zubnzycki, 2013). The purpose of this quantitative study is to conduct a goal free program evaluation of the University of Mississippi's principal preparation programs: the Mississippi Principal Corps and the K-12 Educational Leadership Program. This study determines if a statistically significant difference in school Quality of Distribution Index (QDI) score differentials exists between the University of Mississippi educational leadership program graduates and the Mississippi Principal Corps graduates during their first, second, and third years on a leadership staff. This study also determines if a correlation exists between program admission requirements, academic performance, and standardized examination scores. Using the independent samples t test, this study found no statistically significant difference in M QDI differentials between the University of Mississippi educational leadership program graduates and Principal Corps graduates. The Pearson product-moment correlation found a statistically significant correlation between both the GRE and GRE Writing assessments and the SLLA. No other statistically significant correlations between program variables were found. The findings of this study indicate, though few correlations exist between program variables, principals from both University of Mississippi principal preparation programs are making positive impacts on student achievement in Mississippi schools.


Emphasis: Education Leadership (K-12)



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