Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Examining the Relationship between School Administrators' Efficacy and Goal Orientations

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Examining the Relationship between School Administrators' Efficacy and Goal Orientations

Article excerpt

Motivation is a complex, multidimensional element needed for learning and performance. There are a multitude of theories of motivation in the literature. No one theory fully explicates motivation. To understand and make better use of the motivation construct, it is necessary to study multiple theories and multiple theoretical constructs that are a part of the broad entity that is motivation. In the present article, two theories of motivation were examined. They are self-efficacy and goal orientations. These theories and their associated constructs have been the subject of study in the domain of educational leadership development. Valid and reliable measures of these constructs for developing school administrators were previously created and were used in the present study. The results of this study, based in multiple regression analysis, indicate a clear relationship between school administrators' efficacy and school administrators' goal orientations. Overall, it appears that being an efficacious school administrator is largely tied to having a mastery goal orientation. An important question for future study arises from the present results - how do those preparing future school leaders promote mastery orientations?

Ability is not everything. Motivation is also needed for learning and performance. Motivation is a complex, multidimensional construct that can vary widely, and is difficult to pinpoint. There are a multitude of theories of motivation in the educational psychology literature. A few examples of motivational theories include: self-efficacy theory (e.g., Bandura, 1986) achievement goal orientation theory (e.g., Elliot & McGregor, 2001) and attribution theory (Weiner, 1986). Generally, studying a single motivational construct will not fully explicate an individual's motivation or lack thereof. Knowledge of a set of motivational constructs is needed to better understand motivation. For example, knowing whether a person has a goal is not enough to establish if that person is motivated. Tied to the goal are likely a set of other beliefs that determine whether or not that goal will be pursued, and then how fervently that goal will be pursed. Two motivational theories and constructs that help us to better understand if a goal will be pursued, and if a person will be persistent in goal pursuit, are goal orientations and self-efficacy. In the present article, these constructs were examined within school administrators.

School Administrators' Efficacy & Goal Orientations

Through a series of studies, McCollum, Kajs, and Minier (2006a, 2006b) and McCollum and Kajs (2007a) have established a wellgrounded theory of school administrator's self-efficacy. Aligned with the definition of self-efficacy given by Bandura (1986) a school administrator's efficacy is a school administrator's selfreferent judgments of his/her "capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required" (p. 396) for successful school leadership and reaching desired school outcomes (McCollum & Kajs). An instrument called the School Administrator Efficacy Scale (SAES) was designed to measure the self-efficacy of school administrators (McCollum, Kajs, & Minier). The SAES has consistently shown excellent psychometric properties. That is, there is excellent indication of validity and reliability for the measure.

According to the theoretical model presented by McCollum, Kajs, and Minier (2006a, 2006b) and further described by McCollum and Kajs (2007a) there are eight dimensions of school administrators' efficacy. The eight dimensions are efficacy for: (1) Instructional Leadership and Staff Development (2) School Climate Development (3) Community Collaboration (4) Data-based Decision Making Aligned with Legal and Ethical Principles (5) Resource and Facility Management (6) Use of Community Resources (7) Communication in a Diverse Environment (8) Development of a School Vision. The questionnaire items tied to these dimensions are given in Appendix A. …

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