Perceived performance of public school principals, with implications for their continuing professional education

Shugart, Jill
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The study's primary purposes were: (1) to assess principals' perceptions of their job performance; (2) to determine if competency indicators are performed more frequently or more effectively in one administrative area than another; (3) to detect disparities among principals', teachers', and central administrators' views of principal performance; and (4) to draw inferences about the continuing professional education needs of principals. The study also compared views of elementary with secondary principals, elementary with secondary teachers, and inexperienced with experienced teachers.

The population consisted of certified personnel in the Garland Independent School District in Garland, Texas. The sample included 64 principals, 160 teachers, and 36 central administrators.

The Principal Performance Description Survey--Teacher Form, developed at the University of Georgia, was utilized to survey subjects. The instrument contains competency indicators classified into the administrative categories of Curriculum and Instruction, Staff Personnel, Pupil Personnel, and System-Wide Policies and Operations. Subjects assigned ratings to both the frequency and the effectiveness dimensions of principal performance. One-sample t-tests, independent t-test, one-way and two-way analyses of variance, and modified Least Significant Difference multiple comparison tests were all used to analyze the data on an itemized basis and across the four administrative categories.

Conclusion. (1) Principals, teachers, and central administrators differ in their perceptions of principal performance. Principals evaluate themselves higher than they are rated by either of the other groups. Also, the assessments given by central staff are lower than those given by teachers. (2) Elementary principals are better satisfied with their performance than secondary principals. (3) Elementary teachers give significantly higher evaluations to principal performance than secondary teachers. (4) Experienced teachers give principals slightly higher frequency ratings than inexperienced teachers on instruction-related tasks, but the experience variable does not significantly affect perceptions of effectiveness. (5) All referent groups believe principals are most competent in Pupil Personnel matters and least adequate in Curriculum and Instruction. Effectiveness ratings for Staff Personnel are only slightly above those for Curriculum.

Recommendations. (1) Principals should be involved in inservice education programs dealing with Curriculum and Instruction and Staff Personnel. While Staff Personnel activities could be attended jointly by both elementary and secondary principals, their different instructional needs warrant separate sessions in this area. (2) Future research should involve perceptions of middle school principals and teachers distinct from those of senior high educators. (3) The question as to how educators' perceptions may be affected by their experience in the profession needs further study.

school administrators, studying and teaching, continuing education, school management and organization