Principals` Instructional Leadership and Its Influence on Students’ Academic Achievement in Public Secondary Schools in Nyeri and Nyandarua Counties in Kenya
The study focused on the influence of principals` instructional leadership practices on students` academic performance in public secondary schools in Nyeri and Nyandarua counties. The concern was the low and widely varied academic performance yet the principals` instructional leadership practices were not clear. The study adopted ex-post facto research design and systems theory to study instructional leadership as a determinant of learning outcomes. The sample size comprised 192 principals, 330 Heads of Department, and 352 teachers in 192 schools. The main data collection tools were the principals` questionnaire (r =.89), HoDs` questionnaire (r =.92) and teachers` questionnaire (r =.87). Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis, while quantitative data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Due to the non-normality and ordinal nature of data, inferential statistics were done by use of the Kruskal-Wallis H-test as the non-parametric alternative to the one-way analysis of variance F-test. The study findings were that all five dimensions of instructional leadership were positively and significantly related to students’ academic achievement. Strategic provision of instructional materials and promoting teacher capacity building and motivation were the two dimensions with the largest effect sizes since they explained 9.6% and 9.1% of the observed variation in academic performance, respectively. When all five dimensions of instructional leadership were considered together, the overall instructional leadership explained 16.7% of the observed variation in academic performance, implying that for principals to impact significantly on academic achievement in their schools, they must focus and prioritise all the dimensions of instructional leadership. As a major recommendation for the study, though principals have an arduous task of general school management, they need to prioritise instructional leadership to enhance academic performance in their schools. Proper capacity building and stakeholders support to the principals in this endeavour would be a move in the right direction.
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