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Localism was believed by principals to significantly correlate with promoting spirit ( p of .008, p<.01) and the ability to raise achievement ( p of .014, p<.05). Community attitude was related to the ability to motivate teachers ( p of .001, p<.01), the ability to handle paperwork ( p of .023, p<.05), and the ability to cope with stress ( p of .003, p<.01). Both community attitude and historicism correlated with the ability to promote values, but were not the primary factors. The most significant regression model in percentage of influence found teacher attitude, community attitude, and historicism to predict 60.5% of the variance in the perceived ability to promote values ( p of .024 , p<.05).

The multiple regression analyses suggest that the principals’ perceptions of localism, historicism, and familism had some influence on their sense of self-efficacy; however, the correlations were weak and offered no significant support, in the opinion of the researchers, of a substantial relationship between the principals’ perceptions of the influence of Appalachian cultural features and their sense of self-efficacy (Table 5).

No relationships were found between any of the demographic questions and responses to the PSE or CIS .

Conclusions and recommendations

Based on the limited nature of this study and the data derived from it, the researchers cannot provide definitive answers to the research questions posed in the study. Despite some studies that suggest the role of the educator in Appalachia is greatly different from that in urban and more populous regions of the nation and research suggesting that rural educators face a myriad of challenges that educators in urban areas do not face, this study cannot confirm or deny such findings. The study provides some weak to moderate support to the belief that families and individuals in Appalachia have a deep sense of connection to the land, to the historical context of the region, and to families. However, the same may be true for many other regions of the country outside of Appalachia.

The current study may provide a basis or foundation for some additional and more comprehensive studies. Some possible approaches could include: (a) gathering data from other stakeholders in education (including teachers, students, parents, and others), (b) measuring the principals’ perceptions of self-efficacy and the influence of cultural factors against student test data and other measures of student achievement, (c) a qualitative approach that would include visits to schools, interviews, and the gathering of narrative data, (d) using other measures of self-efficacy and of perception of cultural influences, and (e) doing comparative studies between the various regions within Appalachia or with other sections of the country.

Finally, the researchers of this study are themselves natives of West Virginia who have close and affectionate ties to the state and to the larger Appalachian region. While there were no conscious biases in the study or the conclusions drawn from the data, there is no doubt in the minds of the researchers that the cultural features of the area are largely positive and, in conjunction with qualified and motivated educational leaders and teachers, provide a solid basis for preparing the youth of Appalachia with opportunities to succeed in school and in life.


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Questions & Answers

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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
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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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