An Examination of the Beliefs of Texas High School Principals on the Impact of Extracurricular Participation on Student Academic Performance
Nolte, Joseph L.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the beliefs of high school principals in Texas on the impact extracurricular participation has on student academic performance. Specifically, feedback from high school principals was sought concerning 1) the significance extracurricular participation has on student academic performance; 2) the leadership efforts on their campus to promote extracurricular participation as a means to support student academic performance; 3) the quantity of extracurricular activities offered on their campus to meet the needs of all students that seek to participate; and 4)the attributes gleaned from participating in extracurricular activities that have the most positive impact on students. Research indicates that extracurricular activities, specifically involvement in sports, has been cited as an indication of higher grades, higher educational aspirations, more internal locus of control and a higher self-concept (Feigin, 1994). Research also claims school administrators have the ability to create and model school norms that cultivate and integrate extracurricular involvement while emphasizing the importance of individual academic achievement (George, 2012). Participants in this study included 173 Texas high school principals representing schools of varying student enrollments. A questionnaire with two questions was issued to the subjects seeking their beliefs on the impact extracurricular participation has on students. Ultimately, three findings ascended as productive results from this research. First, the responses revealed that the principals contributing to this study firmly agreed that extracurricular participation has a positive impact on students. Second, the results from this study showed that the school leaders that participated believe that students receive the greatest impact through extracurricular participation by the relationships those students build and from learning the importance of intangibles such as teamwork and commitment. Lastly, the feedback determined that the perceptions of the principals that participated in the study were generally consistent in their views on the impact extracurricular participation has on students, regardless of the enrollment size of the campus they lead. These three findings could have significance by expanding the body of knowledge related to the potential solutions extracurricular participation presents high school principals when they explore strategies to create support systems for students on their campus.