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Assessing the Decision‐making Patterns of School Principals

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 1 March 1992



Presents selected findings from an ongoing investigation of relationships between changes in student test scores and specific actions taken by principals in regard to student learning. Uses a list of 20 open‐ended questions to elicit from school principals verbal descriptions of their behaviours associated with student test scores. Each of the 20 questions deals with a different behavioural step belonging to a rational decision‐making model and were addressed to two samples of elementary school principals of schools which experienced either a continuous improvement or a continuous decline in student test scores in reading, writing and mathematics over a three‐year period. Differences found between the two groups included those related to the principals′ perceptions of the need to improve student test scores, and those related to the nature of principals′ involvement in this area. Also discusses selected issues concerning the research design and methodology used in the study ‐ e.g. the cyclical nature of the two central variables (change in test scores and change in principal behaviour) – and the study′s internal validity. Concludes with a brief analysis of the possible contributions of the findings to the debate regarding the usefulness of the rational model of administrative behaviour. Argues that, under conditions which force an emphasis on outcomes, the concept of rationality in administrative behaviour has both practical and theoretical implications.



Glasman, N.S. and Fuller, J. (1992), "Assessing the Decision‐making Patterns of School Principals", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 6 No. 3.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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