Research Report

A Systematic Review of the Relationships Between Principal Characteristics and Student Achievement

La’Tara Osborne-Lampkin, Jessica Sidler Folsom, and Carolyn D. Herrington
November 2015 | US Department of Education and REL Southeast

This report from REL Southeast and authors from the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University reviewed 52 empirical studies that investigated the relationships between principal characteristics (including precursors, behaviors, and leadership styles) and student achievement in the United States. One experimental study examining a principal intervention designed to improve student achievement found that grade 8 students randomly assigned to have one-on-one conversations with the principal scored higher on the state English language arts test. An additional 38 quantitative and 2 mixed method studies provided mixed evidence of the relationships between principal characteristics and student achievement; 11 qualitative studies mirrored the quantitative findings.

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