The effects of leadership styles and school climate on student achievement

Jennifer Schulman, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of leadership styles and school climate on student achievement. Student achievement was measured using the new standards test in grade 4, known as the English Language Arts Test (ELA). The data were collected in 30 elementary schools in an urban school district in Westchester County, New York. There were 30 principals and 429 classroom teachers who completed the Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire-Revised Edition, by Hoy, Tarter, and Kottkamp (1991). The OCDQ-RE measures perception of principal and teacher behavior in schools. The 6 subscale behaviors include principal supportive, directive, and restrictive behavior, and teacher collegial, intimate, and disengaged behavior. Based on these perceptions, schools were identified as having an open, engaged, disengaged, or closed climate. In addition, for the purpose of this research, schools were also identified as having a particular style of leader, based on the three subscales of principal behavior. Three hypotheses were tested to determine the relationship of the independent variables of leadership styles and school climate, on the dependent variable of student achievement. In addition, the latent variables of job satisfaction and self-efficacy were examined, since they were determined as important components to school climate. Results of this study found no significant relationship between leadership styles and student achievement and school climate types and student achievement. The only significant predictor of student achievement was the demographic variable of the number of years a teacher has been in the profession. The result is appropriate, given the ELA Test, since observations of teachers working in schools using this test validates that the more experience the teacher has on the skills needed to meet the standards, the better equipped the students are in meeting those standards. A review of job satisfaction noted a significantly higher sense of job satisfaction when teachers have focus and meaning in their work and are positive about the school; in other words, they are not disengaged. A review of self-efficacy results shows that teachers' feelings about being able to accomplish goals and tasks is significantly greater when they feel they are working with a supportive principal in a positive school climate.

Subject Area

School administration|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Schulman, Jennifer, "The effects of leadership styles and school climate on student achievement" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3056157.