Institution Granting Degree
University of Virginia
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Virginia public school principals as to their desirability for professional development training in order to meet current accountability measures. Specifically, this study was designed to determine the following: (a) Given a list of professional development statements relating to current accountability measures, how do principals rate their desirability level? (b) Given a list of professional development statements relating to current accountability measures, how do principals rank their desirability level? (c) Are there differences in principal's perceptions of their desirability for professional development based upon their experience level, level of school (elementary, middle or high school), the percentage of minority children, children with IEPs, children with limited English proficiency, children in poverty within the school's population, Title 1 status and AYP accreditation.
The data were collected were collected using a researcher-developed survey. The survey was mailed to randomly selected principals of elementary, middle and high schools within Virginia. The survey response rate was 60.7%. The data was analyzed descriptively and analytically, using frequency, percentages, means, F-values and ANOVA. Qualitative information by principals was also summarized.
The results of this study indicated that in fourteen of the twenty statements of desirability, principals indicated some level of desirability toward professional development training. The three statements in which principals had the greatest desirability for professional training both in rating and ranking their desirability were (1) Ensuring their teachers are trained in research-based instructional methods, (2) Raising the achievement levels of students with disabilities, and (3) Raising the achievement levels of students living in poverty. Results further indicated a statistically significance difference at the .05 level among principal subgroups based on principal's experience level, the percent of poverty children with their total school population, and principals level of Title funding.
These results have implications for school systems within the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine principal needs and provide the necessary training to meet current federal and state mandates. Additionally, this information would allow advocacy and outreach professional organizations for school principals to design workshops that focus their efforts on the highest need professional development areas.