A study to determine the relationship between elementary principals' knowledge of reading and second-grade student's reading achievement



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The principal is recognized in the literature as a key ingredient in a successful reading program. The literature also revealed that the factor of the "principal's knowledge of reading" was the most frequently listed characteristic of the principal deemed necessary for the success of the reading program. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between elementary principals' knowledge of reading and second-grade students' reading achievement when controls for teacher knowledge of reading, student socio-economic background, student ethnicity, and student turnover rates were applied. Principals' and teachers' knowledge of reading was evaluated through The Inventory of Teacher Knowledge of Reading by A. Sterl Artley and Veralee B. Hardin. Three items were added to the inventory to reflect current trends in reading instruction that have emerged since the development and revision of the instrument in 1975. Participating schools were randomly selected from campuses within the Region IV Education Service Center area, an area including seven counties in and around Houston, Texas. These participating schools contained a fifteen percent or less student population eligible for free or reduced meals and a fifteen percent Of less student minority population. Student achievement scores for five students randomly selected from each teacher's classroom were recorded for testing completed in April, 1979. The study consisted of 24 elementary principals, 85 second-grade teachers, and 425 second-grade students located in thirteen school districts. Six hypotheses were tested to examine the relationship between principals' and teachers' knowledge of reading and second-grade student reading achievement. Several additional analyses were also performed. The statistical analyses failed to yield evidence to reject any of the null hypotheses. There were no significant differences at the .05 level on scores from the inventory between elementary principals and second-grade teachers; between elementary principals who had and who had not taken two or more professional reading courses; and betv/een principals and teachers who had and who had not been in their position for nine years or longer. There were also no significant differences in schools and classrooms where principals' and teachers' scores on the inventory were labeled "high" and schools and classrooms where these scores were labeled "low." No correlation was found between teachers' scores on the inventory and second-grade students' reading achievement scores. The results of the item analysis revealed that the principals' scores were higher than the teachers' on sixty-five percent of the inventory. : The principals surpassed the teachers in the areas identified by the International Reading Assocation as "language foundations of reading," "comprehension," "diagnostic teaching," and "program planning and improvement." The teachers' scores exceeded the principals' on thirty-five percent of the inventory. The teachers attained higher scores in the categories of "word analysis" and "enjoyment of reading." However, these differences were not significant. Both teachers and principals excelled in the areas of "diagnostic teaching" and "program planning and improvement." Their scores were lowest in the category of "language foundations of reading." [...]