Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Rosusan D. Bartee

Second Advisor

Susan McClelland

Third Advisor

Timothy D. Letzring

Relational Format



Principal preparation programs have faced increased scrutiny concerning their effectiveness in preparing K-12 administrators (Bennet, Gooden, Lindauer, & Petrie, 2001). Due to consistently stagnant academic performance of schools across the nation and reported shortages of quality school leaders, principals have been pushed front and center as the targeted school leader responsible for school failure. Because principals received their preparation from either a traditional or alternate route principal program, there is a need to re-exam the effectiveness of these programs to enhance principal practice and principal performance. The purpose of this quantitative study, a contextual examination of Mississippi's principal preparation programs and their impact on student achievement, is to determine whether a difference exist between Mississippi's traditional and alternate route principal preparation programs. The study also determines if there is a difference between Mississippi's eight principal preparation programs and student achievement. Mississippi's principal preparation programs include the following: Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi College, Mississippi State University; the University of Mississippi; University of Southern Mississippi; William Carey University; and the Mississippi alternate path to quality school leaders. The 384 principals in the study are graduates of Mississippi's principal preparation programs who served three consecutive years as a principal during the 2010-2011 to 2012-2013 school years. Using an independent t-test, the study finds no significant difference in student achievement scores of traditional and alternate route principal preparation programs. Using an ANOVA, the study finds significant differences that exist between the eight Mississippi's principal preparation programs. Providing that the results are based on principal preparation programs and student achievement, the following recommendations are put forward: 1) examine the alignment between the types of principal preparation program as it relates to rural and urban populations served; 2) establish professional learning communities of faculty in principal preparation programs to identify collective practices best serve the needs of school districts; 3) revisit the mission of principal preparation programs to determine if and how student achievement gets integrated within the delivery of the curriculum; and 4) explore the covariant factors of how student socioeconomic status, parental involvement, and years of experience as a school leader affects leadership performance. The study concludes with a newly proposed conceptual framework in which further research would expose in greater details the impact principal preparation programs have on student achievement.


Emphasis: Educational Leadership (K-12)



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