Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Albert J. Williams


The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate whether or not leadership style and school climate are significant predictors of student achievement. The target population consisted of elementary and high school teachers from Virginia public schools who had taught under the leadership of their respective current principals for at least 4 years. Nine school divisions were randomly selected from each of the following regions—rural, suburban, and urban—within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Data were collected using two surveys. Bass's (1985) Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Form 5X) was used to assess principals' leadership style—transactional, transformational, or laissez-faire—as perceived by teachers. The Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire (OCDQ), which was originally developed by Halpin and Croft (1963), was used to assess school climate. The OCDQ-RE was administered to elementary school participants; the OCDQ-RS was administered to high school participants. Both versions of the OCDQ identify overall school climate type: open, engaged, disengaged, or closed climate. All participants were also asked to complete a demographics questionnaire. Student achievement was measured using 3-year average scores on the Virginia Standards of Learning tests in reading and math for grades 3 and 11.

The data revealed that both teacher and principal participants most often viewed their school's dominant leadership style as transformational; transactional leadership style was the second most often perceived style. School climate varied—open, engaged, disengaged, or closed—according to teacher participants, whereas principal participants viewed their respective school climates as either open or disengaged. The findings indicate that 6% of variance in scores can be accounted for by leadership style and school climate with the math SOL score as the dependent variable; however, a smaller percentage, only 2%, of the variance in scores is associated with the reading SOL score dependent variable. The researcher found no significant differences in school climate among the three regions: rural, suburban, urban.