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The Self-Efficacy of Elementary/Middle Level Catholic School Principals Regarding Major Roles and Responsibilities: Implications for Professional Preparation and Development

Karen M Swoboda, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the leadership self-efficacy of elementary/middle level principals of Catholic schools in Southern New England. It examined their perceived competence in relationship to various aspects of their role and responsibilities as principal as outlined in professional standards. By studying the self-efficacy of current principals, insight into key issues for formation and retention of educational leaders emerged (Eberhard, 2013). ^ This study used a two-phase, mixed methods sequential explanatory design. In the first phase, a questionnaire designed to measure self-efficacy of school leaders in terms of their major role and responsibilities provided quantitative data for elementary/middle level principals of Catholic schools in five dioceses. In the second phase, expert interviews were conducted to obtain insight into their perceptions of self-efficacy and the role dimensions (Creswell, 2009; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The research questions that guided this study were: What are the levels of self-efficacy regarding their leadership roles and responsibilities among elementary/middle Catholic school principals? Is there a relationship between elementary/middle Catholic school principals’ self-efficacy regarding their leadership roles and responsibilities and a number of leadership preparation/academic experience variables? What do elementary/middle Catholic school principals perceive to contribute to their success as administrators in a Catholic school setting? What roadblocks to success and effectiveness do they report in terms of their overall preparation and experience relating to the work? ^ Quantitative data (N=36) were collected using an on-line questionnaire measuring self-efficacy on nine dimensions (5-point Likert scale; Not Very Confident-Very Confident). Qualitative data were collected using interviews (N=6) with survey respondents who agreed to participate in the second phase of this study. ^ Highest means were reported in communications (M=4.75) and Catholic identity (M=4.56), while lowest were in the dimensions of use of community resources (M=3.95) and community collaboration (M=3.87). There were no significant findings in the relationship between demographics and efficacy, but several trends were identified. Interviews identified perceived strengths in Catholic identity and instructional leadership dimensions, and relative weaknesses in community partnerships and resource/facility management. Recommendations include providing focused professional development to increase principal efficacy, and provision of tangible, job-embedded supports for principals to help manage the wide variety of responsibilities.^

Subject Area

Religion, Philosophy of|Education, Leadership|Education, Middle School|Education, Administration|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Swoboda, Karen M, "The Self-Efficacy of Elementary/Middle Level Catholic School Principals Regarding Major Roles and Responsibilities: Implications for Professional Preparation and Development" (2015). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3701134.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3701134