The superintendent's organizational approach to defined autonomy and the goal implementation process as it impacts student success
Kultgen, Merrl Kent
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This single-case study addresses the lack of qualitative research describing the instructional role of the superintendent. Guiding this study are two research questions, "How does the goal implementation process as an element of the superintendent's organizational approach impact student success?" and "How does defined autonomy as an element of the superintendent's organizational approach impact student success?" In 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act instilled a sense of urgency for the education community to implement an accountability reform placing an emphasis on schools to demonstrate effective instructional leadership at the district level. The sense of urgency caused by this political mandate, created a demand for data pertaining to the superintendent's instructional role and in 2006 Waters and Marzano completed their exhaustive quantitative meta-analysis on this subject. Their study discovered statistical data suggesting six responsibilities comprised of 51 observable practices of a superintendent that positively correlate with student success. Despite this effort, the lack of research concerning the qualitative data describing the superintendent's instructional role was still evident. The purpose of this qualitative single-case study was to collect data in a real-life, holistic environment to ascertain if the superintendent's organizational approaches did impact student success. To guide the data collection process, the six superintendent responsibilities were divided into two categories: defined autonomy and the goal implementation process. Waters and Marzano (2006) further broke these two categories into 51 observable practices (propositional theories) that statistically correlated with student success. Through Yin's (2003) guidance this researcher conducted interviews, purposeful observation and document analysis, to pattern-match data with empirical evidence. The findings suggest the organizational approaches of the superintendent did impact student success. Furthermore, new research ground was broken by discovering a process of five observable steps, that when followed will impact student success. The steps are: (1) Develop a shared vision, (2) Implement district goals, (3) Consistently communicate expectations, (4) Allow principals to implement, (5) Hold principals accountable through monitoring.