Date of Award

6-8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kathleen Foster, Ed. D.

Second Advisor

Valeri Helterbran, Ed. D.

Third Advisor

Mollie Whalen, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of a leader‘s sex on the climate of alternative schools. Specifically, the problem was ―Does a principal‘s sex have an impact on the climate of alternative schools?‖ The research attempted to answer the following questions: 1. Do differences with regard to a principal‘s sex exist within the following subsets of alternative school climate: collaboration, student relations, alternative school resources, decision making, and instructional innovation? 2. To what extent, if any, are there differences in the perceived climate of the alternative school based on the sex of the surveyed staff? 3. Based on the data, what themes emerge, based on the principal‘s sex, on the following alternative school profile characteristics: student attendance, student discipline, and academic performance? 4. What key factors regarding alternative school climate emerge as significant based on the results of this study? A mixed methods approach, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative components, suggested the answers to these questions. Quantitative data were obtained through a survey, the Revised-School Level Environment Questionnaire that participants took online. Data were collected and analyzed in order to determine significance. The statistical techniques used in this study were analysis of variance, the t-test, and measures of central tendency. A qualitative piece was included in this study and occurred through an interview. Participants in this study were selected using the method of ―purposive sampling‖ described by Lincoln & Guba (1985), on the basis of their leadership status within an alternative school in Monroe, Pike, or Northampton Counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The purpose of this study was to add to existing literature on sex differences in educational leadership. A thorough review of the literature revealed little relevant research on the impact of the principal‘s sex on the climate of alternative schools. With the number of alternative schools on the increase, more studies are needed on these schools, the students, and their leaders.

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