Instructional leadership behaviors of Catholic secondary school principals

Date of Completion

January 1993


Education, Administration




The purpose of this study was to describe the instructional leadership practices of Catholic secondary school principals, and to determine the relationship of these behaviors to selected factors of school context: school size, student-administrator ratio, and enrollment stability. A quantitative research methodology was used to measure instructional leadership behaviors of principals in nineteen Catholic secondary schools in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Data on teachers' perceptions of principals' instructional leadership behaviors was obtained from 464 teachers using the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS). Analysis of variance was used to examine whether significant differences in instructional leadership practices existed according to classification on the three variables of school context. Discriminant function analysis was used to measure the contribution of ten specific instructional leadership functions to group differences on the three variables of school context.^ The results demonstrated a significant principal instructional leadership role across a broad range of instructional leadership functions, with mean scores on the PIMRS subscales ranging from 2.78 to 3.81 on a Likert-type scale with values from one to five. On the variables of school context, analysis of variance revealed statistically significant differences on school size, student-administrator ratio, and enrollment stability. Principals in larger schools, schools with lower student-administrator ratios, schools with lower enrollment stability, and schools in combined conditions of these groupings, achieved higher scores than those in the alternate conditions.^ The study concluded that principal instructional leadership is related to factors of school context and that the decentralized organizational structure of Catholic secondary schools appears to be a generally conducive context for the exercise of principal instructional leadership, providing a model for examination by site-based management advocates. Further research is recommended in the following areas: examining principal instructional leadership in relation to additional factors of school context and other administrative organizational models in public, Catholic, and private schools; studying the degree to which involvement in instructional leadership activities enhances or detracts from the principal's other leadership responsibilities; and investigating the relationship of the principal's exercise of instructional leadership to that exercised by other professional staff. ^