Back to Results

< Previous   Next >

A Comparative Study of the State of the Principalship in North Carolina from the Principals' Executive Program Surveys of 2003 and 2008 This study was designed to identify salient characteristics and features that can be added to the current body of literature on school administration as it pertains to the role of the principal in the 21st century; particularly as it relates to concerns proliferating around the role in North Carolina. The purpose of the study was to utilize data collected by the Principals' Executive Program in 2003 from the State of the Principalship survey to compare with principal perceptions of their roles from the re-administration of that same survey in 2008. These two surveys were designed to ask questions in four main areas that are grounded in research for the study. They were (a) demographic trends, (b) aspects of being a principal, (c) aspects of principal job responsibilities relating to dimensions of school improvement, and (d) aspects of professional development for principals. The researcher reviewed secondary data sets from the two years and investigated issues pertaining to how time was spent, preparation for the principalship, professional development, principal priorities, district leadership and recent issues as drawn from the two survey administrations. To examine these issues, the major research question was How has the role of the principal and the perceptions of principals in North Carolina changed from 2003 to 2008 as judged by the State of the Principalship surveys? Five hundred seven (44%) participants completed the survey in 2003, and 651 (56%) completed the survey in 2008. Based on results, the study concluded that while only a few areas of significance were reported between the two years, principal respondents provided important data that will be useful to the Principals' Executive Program in its quest to deliver contemporary, effective professional development for principals in North Carolina. Major findings included that the job has become more demanding and the need for professional development in the following areas are of great concern for principals serving in that capacity today: curriculum, instruction, and student achievement. According to principal respondents in both administrations, the Principals' Executive Program is still considered the most rewarding professional development experience for principals in North Carolina. The data also suggested that universities continue to play an important role in the preparation of principals. Patterns from the comparison of the two data sets by principal respondents suggested that principals report spending the majority of their time on instructional leadership (meaning curriculum and instruction, school improvement and student achievement) while principals in 2003 reported issues surrounding management routines as most important. Central Office and district support in school improvement was also reported more favorably in 2008 than in 2003. The PEP surveys were not perfect matches in all aspects of the principal's job when comparing responses between the two years. The data produced by them, however, is and will remain valuable and a continuing source of information about principal leadership in the state for policy makers, universities, local districts, professional development providers, practicing principals and aspiring principals alike. Using Pearson chi square and independent samples t test, findings support existing literature on principal leadership, school leadership and professional development for school leaders.