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Title:Valuing noncognitive factors and academic progress for elementary leaders: a single-site case study
Author(s):Martelli, Christopher Brian
Director of Research:Roegman, Rachel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roegman, Rachel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Li, Jessica; Hackmann, Donal G; Herrmann, Mary
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ed.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):accountability
noncognitive factors
social-emotional learning
leadership for learning, elementary leadership
Abstract:The accountability movement, which started in the early 1980s, has continued to focus on academic progress, specifically in mathematics and reading, until present day. However, there is a growing body of evidence that noncognitive factors—attributes, dispositions, social skills, interpersonal abilities, and mindset are equally, if not more, important as content knowledge when determining a student’s college and career preparation. With growing evidence to support the positive effects of these attributes there are growing implications as to how they promote learning (Conley, 2015; Duckworth et al., 2007; Tough, 2012). Too deeply examine the perceptions and behaviors of an elementary school principal, this case study examined the leadership of one Illinois school principal with a reputation for valuing noncognitive factors while also focusing on academic accountability demands. Three research questions framed this study: (a) how does the principal promote instruction of noncognitive factors and assess the school’s effectiveness with teaching students both academic and noncognitive skills; (b) what strategies does the elementary principal employ to assist teachers with balancing academic accountability demands and instruction of noncognitive factors; (c) what challenges has the principal encountered and addressed when establishing a focus on instruction of noncognitive factors, and what role does state-mandated testing play in their ability to do so effectively? To guide data collection and analysis, this research utilized a conceptual framework founded on tenants of leadership for learning and the framework for noncognitive factors. Findings revealed that the principal engaged in four primary behaviors, with varying success, that supported valuing noncognitive factors: focusing on learning, managing external environments, acting strategically and sharing leadership, and focusing on the instruction of noncognitive factors. The principal focused on school-wide curriculum, providing professional development, communicating with a variety of stakeholders, facilitating committee work, and tapping into teacher leaders. Even though these leadership behaviors were perceived to be associated with valuing noncognitive factors in the study site, challenge remained. State mandated assessments that focus on mathematics and reading, along with a lack of instruction time, were noted as areas that presented challenges for the building principal when trying to balance academic performance with valuing noncognitive factors. Implications from this study focused on the principal valuing noncognitive factors and practicing tenants of the leadership for learning framework. Multiple recommendations for further study, development of policy, and professional practice are presented to advance effective leadership practices for valuing noncognitive factors.
Issue Date:2020-05-05
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/107960
Rights Information:Copyright 2020
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05


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