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Research questions

This study did not formally conceptualize hypotheses concerning the potential interactions of cultural influences in Appalachia with principals’ sense of efficacy. The comprehensive question that guided the study was whether principals in southern West Virginia believe their efficacy in performing their job is affected by cultural features that are often considered unique to the Appalachian region. The following specific questions were included:

1. Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the influence of localism?

2.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the influence of historicism?

3.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the influence of familism?

4.    Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the influence the rural nature and culture of the region?

5.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the belief held by students that they can obtain a good education and succeed in life?

6.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception of the belief of teachers that students can succeed in school and in life?

7.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception that parents believe a good education will provide opportunities for their children to succeed in life?

8.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and perception that the school community is one that promotes education and places a high value on student success?

9.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and being a native of West Virginia?

10.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and being a native of the community in which the principal works?

11.   Is there a relationship between a principal’s sense of efficacy and whether the school achieves adequate yearly progress (AYP)?

The study

Participants

The target population for the study was principals of schools in fourteen southern counties of West Virginia: Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming. The principals were contacted by e-mail and asked to complete a survey through the on-line instrument Survey Monkey. Surveys were sent to 180 principals. Eighty-two surveys were completed and returned with a response rate of 45.6%. Some demographics were gathered on the principals who responded: 80.7% of the principals were natives of West Virginia with 44.6% serving schools in their native communities; 54.2% had been in their schools six or more years, while 9.6% had been in their school for one year or less. Principals were asked to indicate if the school had made adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the last two years in standardized testing (West Virginia Educational Standards Test or WESTEST). Fifty-eight responded for 2009-10 with 84.5% indicating they had made AYP. For 2008-09, forty-one answered the question with 61.0% indicated they had made AYP.

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Source:  OpenStax, Education leadership review special issue: portland conference, volume 12, number 3 (october 2011). OpenStax CNX. Oct 17, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11362/1.5
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