Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Career aspirations of students in educational leadership programs
by Mitchell, Mike, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 165; 3349913
Abstract (Summary)

There is an abundance of literature regarding the pending shortage of qualified candidates for the principalship. This shortage is predicted to be nationwide and to pertain to all educational levels, with the high school principal position’s being the most difficult to fill. The literature cites multiple reasons for the shortage, including compensation, hours, job complexity, standardized testing requirements, lack of community support, and lack of respect for the position. There is, however, no shortage of teachers who currently hold administrative certifications. These individuals have completed the coursework for approved educational leadership programs yet have chosen not to pursue careers in educational leadership. There is also a significant body of information regarding why these teachers have chosen to stay in instructional positions.

This study focused on the career goals and outcomes of the current class of prospective administrative leadership candidates. The study focused on their career plans and aspirations. Specifically, the study sought to determine how many individuals were interested in the principalship as a viable career option. This study also examined specific job attributes and how they were rated by the current class of prospective principals. Additionally, this study attempted to determine what other types of career choices the individuals in the educational leadership programs were pursuing: central office or support positions, specialist positions, or continuation of their careers in the classroom. Finally, the study sought to identify specific current duties that the individuals fulfilled within their schools, which identified them as nonadministrative leaders within the building.

This study used descriptive statistics to develop a detailed picture of the goals and aspirations of the future educational leaders. A correlation analysis was conducted. Results indicate that the correlation between the dependent variable, the Job desirability Index and the variable scales: Work, School Context, Subjective and Objective factors was weak for all the variable scales. The Principal Job Survey (Merrill, 1999) was the evaluative tool used to collect the data and establish the job desirability of the principalship. Based upon the results it would be the recommendation of this researcher that this survey tool not be used again with students in educational leadership programs. The study built upon the work Job Desirability of the Principalship: A Study of Perceptions and Intentions of Qualified Applicants (Barksdale, 2003) and Job Desirability of the High School Principalship: A Job Choice Theory Perspective (Pounder & Merrill, 2001).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Desander, Marguerita
Commitee: Clement, Lonnie, Logan, Greg, Swayze, Susan, Tucker, James
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Leadership and Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Assistant principalship, Career aspirations, Educational leadership, Leadership, Principalship
Publication Number: 3349913
ISBN: 978-1-109-06263-2
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