Leadership Development Expertise: A Mixed-Method Analysis

By Okpala, Comfort O.; Hopson, Linda B. et al. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Leadership Development Expertise: A Mixed-Method Analysis


Okpala, Comfort O., Hopson, Linda B., Chapman, Bernadine, Fort, Edward, Journal of Instructional Psychology


In this study, the impact of graduate curriculum, experience, and standards in the development of leadership expertise were examined. The major goals of the study were to (1) examine the impact of college content curriculum in the development of leadership expertise, (2) examine the impact of on the job experience in the development of leadership expertise, (3) determine the impact of standards in the development of leadership expertise, and (4) to identify the attributes of leadership expertise. Utilizing mixed-method research design, randomly selected school administrators completed a survey that measured how and where they developed their leadership expertise. The results from the analysis showed that the cognitive dimensions of leadership development of adult learners were the result of on the job experiences.

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There is a growing concern that the decline in the quality of public school in terms of student achievement is attributed to lack of quality administrators (Gregorian, 2001). Hess and Kelly (2005) concluded that too many graduate programs fail to provide comprehensive curriculum to preservice school administrators as well as strong field experiences. In 1994, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) commissioned the Interstate School Leadership Consortium (ISLLC) to shape the development of school administrators around a set of principles and best practices. Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, and Maverson (2006) stated that the ISLLC Standards became the mark of quality for K-12 administrative credentialing in all 50 states in US. Young (2002) concluded that classroom instruction should not be substituted for on the job training in the development of professional expertise for adult learners. But little is known on how on the job experience stimulate leadership development in school administrators. Richardson (1996) emphasized that school administrators' beliefs drive instructional pedagogy. Hart (2002) concluded that administrators' perceptions should be taken into consideration in an effort to change practices. Research has concluded that students exposed to high quality instruction learn more than other (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Goldhaber & Brewer, 2000; Stevenson & Stigler, 1992). Quality administrators provide effective leadership for quality instruction. In order to understand the characteristics of an effective school leadership, it is essential to examine variables that foster the development of leadership expertise. Given these critical issues of concern, and given the importance of preparing quality school administrators this current study has important implications in this era of educational reform.

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of graduate content curriculum, on the job experience and national leadership standards in the development of leadership expertise. The following research questions were the focus of the study:

1. What is the impact of the graduate content curriculum in the development of leadership expertise of school administrators?

2. What is the impact of on the job experience in the development of leadership

expertise of school administrators?

3. What is the impact of leadership standards in the development of leadership expertise of school administrators?

4. What are some attributes of leadership expertise?

Conceptual Framework

The study relied on several core values deemed essential for the development of successful school leaders (Murphy, 2006; ISLLC, 1996). These core values such as the need for instructionally focused leaders that promote quality teaching and learning, the need for leaders who can manage and align human, fiscal, material, and community resources efficiently and effectively, the need for leaders who can promote and implement a shared vision around principles of equity, and the need for leaders that can cultivate organizational cultures and foster collaborative relationships among stakeholders were utilized as the framework for this study. …

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