Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

David Anderson, PhD

Committee Member

James Berry, EdD

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders, PhD

Committee Member

Mary Vielhaber, PhD


The continuing demand for greater accountability and improved student performance are critical concerns facing education in the 21st century. Federal and state mandates have been issued to ensure that all students achieve mastery of curriculum objectives. This quantitative study examined the relationships among student achievement as measured by the overall student proficiency in science on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) Test and teacher perceptions of transformational leadership practices of Michigan high school principals and school culture. A correlational research design was used for this study. A total of 157 teachers, representing 147 unique high schools completed an online survey measuring perceptions of their principal’s transformational leadership practices and school culture. The items on the Transformational Leadership Practices survey and the School Culture Survey were used in a principal components factor analysis with a varimax rotation. Four factors, transformational leadership, collaborative school culture, professional learning, and ethical leadership, emerged from the factor analysis. Multiple linear regression analysis using a backward variable entry method was used to determine which school demographics were related to the four subscales measuring transformational leadership practices and school culture. A multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine which of the transformational leadership practices, school culture, and school demographics could be used to predict science outcomes on the M-STEP science test. Seven major conclusions include (a) transformational leaders are more likely to support professional learning, (b) transformational leaders are more likely to have a collaborative school culture, (c) transformational leadership practices have both an vi indirect and direct effect on professional learning and collaborative culture, (d) transformational leadership practices are more likely to be used by female principals, (e) transformational leadership practices are less likely to be used in schools with a large population of special needs students, and (f) transformational leadership practices and school culture are not related to student achievement; however, transformational leadership practices could have indirect and direct effects on alternative measurements of student achievement. Future research, such as a qualitative study involving teacher interviews could investigate which transformational leadership practices resulted in a collaborative school culture and supported professional learning.