Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Literacy Leadership

Committee Director

Jane M. Hager

Committee Member

Charlene E. Fleener

Committee Member

William A. Owings


Principal behavior is under intense scrutiny, particularly in light of increased demands for higher and higher levels of student achievement. Reading achievement is the measure by which schools as well as principal leadership are judged. This study examined principals' literacy practices and their relationship to student achievement in reading. Measures used for analyses included a researcher-developed survey instrument, the Principal Quality Literacy Practices Survey, and results from the grade five Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) English: Reading test.

Survey data from 109 principals and 160 reading specialists from Southeastern Virginia were utilized. Principals and reading specialists reported that overall principals' actions were either proficient or exemplary. Principals rated as proficient were reported to demonstrate practices that have made a positive and measurable impact on the teaching and learning of reading. Principals rated exemplary were reported to demonstrate literacy practices that exhibited clear, convincing, and consistent evidence of a significant and measurable impact on student achievement in reading. Principals were rated highest in the areas of assessment, diagnosis and evaluation, and professional development. Further analysis of survey responses revealed statistically significant differences in principals' and reading specialists' responses by question.

Data from seventy-four schools, in which the principal and reading specialist both completed the study survey, were utilized to investigate the relationship between principals' literacy practices and wade five SOL scores. No significant statistical relationship between principals' literacy practices, as reported by the Principal Quality Literacy Practices Survey, and student achievement was found.


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