Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceptions of International School Heads Towards the Identification of Quality Principal Candidates
by Harris, David W., Ed.D., Lehigh University, 2013, 161; 3589904
Abstract (Summary)

Seeking and finding highly effective principals to lead our schools is one of the highest priority tasks for a school head. Research has documented the importance of the principal for improved student achievement. Waters, Marzano, and McNulty (2004) reviewed the literature over the past 35 years and identified 21 specific leadership responsibilities that have a statistically significant, positive correlation to student achievement. The purpose of this descriptive survey study was to deepen our understanding of the ways that international school heads identify high-potential principal candidates.

The survey, Dimensions of Quality Leadership Candidate Identification (DQLCI), was distributed to a random sampling of the complete population of international school heads of full member schools in all regional associations. From a population of 732 international school heads, an average of 184 valid responses (25%) for the four questions was received. However, two regions received a higher percentage response rate thus improving the external validity of the results for the two regions: East Asia Regional Council of Schools (44%) and the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (56%).

Specifically, the study examined four areas that heads attribute to identifying each of the 21 responsibilities upon screening principal candidates: the principal candidate quality, the value that heads attribute to each of the 21 responsibilities upon screening principal candidates, the perceived ease of identifying each of the 21 responsibilities in principal candidates being screened, and the best method of identifying each of the 21 responsibilities when screening principal candidates.

The results indicated that international school heads felt that the quality of candidates was just a little better than average with qualitative data highlighting the shallow pool of quality candidates. Heads perceive the 21 responsibilities to have high value in the candidate screening process. Five themes emerged from a factor analysis or data reduction process. Heads value the following factors (in descending order of importance): (1) Ideals and Beliefs about the School's Learning Culture; (2) Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; (3) Personal Communication and Relationships; (4) Managerial Leadership; and (5) Principal as Change Agent. These themes provide a clear topical framework for principal preparation programs and for the design of effective principal recruitment tools.

In response to the third question, the heads became more uncertain about their ability to identify the 21 responsibilities. Heads deemed interview, then reference checks, the two best methods to identify the 21 responsibilities in candidates; however, qualitative data points to the need for multiple measures to triangulate the data and build a better profile of a potential candidate.

Recruiting high-quality leadership is difficult in the best of conditions but the nature of international school leadership recruitment is complex. It is important for an international school head to be proactive and able to develop systematic and intentional hiring practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: White, George P.
Commitee: Beachum, Floyd D., Donohue, Louise E., Krajczar, Richard T., White, George P.
School: Lehigh University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Multicultural Education, School administration, Organization Theory
Keywords: Effective, Head, International school, Principal, Quality, Recruitment, Responsibilities
Publication Number: 3589904
ISBN: 978-1-303-29058-9
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