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Title:Illinois superintendents' perceptions of the effectiveness of their superintendent training
Author(s):Fessler, Arthur J.
Director of Research:Hackmann, Donald G.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hackmann, Donald G.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Alexander, S. Kern; Epperson, Steven; Monda-Amaya, Lisa E.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Superintendent Preparation
Abstract:This quantitative study, using survey research methods, examined whether Illinois public school superintendents perceived their superintendent preparation programs adequately prepared them for the superintendency. More specifically, the study examined superintendents’ perceptions about the relevance of educational leadership standards, which were developed from the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium and Educational Leadership Constituents Council standards and Waters and Marzano leadership responsibilities and practices), if these standards were embedded in the respondents’ university-based leadership preparation programs, and the importance of the leadership standards to their positions. An online questionnaire was administered to Illinois public school superintendents who held their appointments during the 2009-2010 school year. A total of 314 of the 868 Illinois superintendents responded, for a 36.2% response rate. The findings revealed that over three-fourths (78%) of superintendents were satisfied with the training they received from their preparation programs. Respondents also indicated that their preparation programs, on average, provided a moderate degree of preparation with regard to the leadership standards. Respondents indicated the need for additional reform in preparation programs in order to remain current with superintendents’ changing roles and responsibilities. Respondents in this study recommended the following changes to strengthen superintendent preparation programs: (a) more focus on hands-on and practical experiences, such as internships; (b) more focus on fiscal, finance, and budget issues; (c) more instructors who are current, successful superintendents; (d) more training about politics and political culture; (e) mentor programs; and (f) information about building positive relationships with school boards. Responses also revealed the need to more fully incorporate school leadership standards in superintendent preparation program design. The mean emphasis ratings on the six standards were lower than the mean importance ratings across all 39 leadership items, indicating that the extent to which these standards were emphasized was lesser than the extent to which the respondents perceived that they were important. Furthermore, the amount of variability in the participants’ responses was greater for the emphasis items than the importance items, indicating that the participants were more similar in their beliefs of importance than they were relative to their actual experiences in their superintendent preparation. Additionally, female superintendents scored the importance of all six leadership standards higher than did male superintendents. Finally, respondents noted that a focus on instructional leadership was largely missing in most preparation programs. Respondents noted that only 38% of the questionnaire items related to instructional leadership practices were emphasized or highly emphasized in their superintendent preparation programs. However, respondents indicated that 87% of the items linked to instructional leadership were important or highly important to their practice. This finding is important due to recent education reforms mandating increased student achievement and the sanctioning school districts that do not meet yearly prescribed student achievement benchmarks.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Arthur J. Fessler
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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