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India M. Harris
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Strategic Leadership Studies
Karen A. Ford
Research has shown that the combination of locus of control, self-efficacy, self-confidence, and emotional stability is a good predictor of life success. Until now, this second order factor, called core self-evaluations (CSE) has only been studied in adults. Findings from this study, showed levels of CSE were significantly and positively connected with academic achievement for middle and elementary aged students. CSE appears to play to a similar role between students and academic achievement as it plays with adults and job performance. In this study, the dimensions of transformational leadership were applied to teacher behaviors and students were grouped based on their teachers’ leadership behavior. Reading achievement and core self-evaluation (CSE) were then examined across student groups. Findings indicated students living in poverty and students with low CSE performed better on reading achievement tests when a teacher, who exhibited transformational leadership behavior, taught them. This study establishes transformational leadership in teachers has the potential to offset the effects of poverty and negative self-views on performance. Results also add new information to our existing knowledge about student performance indicators, the student/teacher relationship, and the link between expectations and performance. The results of this study have powerful implications for evidence-based teacher training and preparation programs, hiring practices, and future research.
Harris, India, "The Achievement Gap and Students Living in Poverty: The Role of Core Self-Evaluation and Transformational Leadership in Teachers" (2016). Dissertations. 101.
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