Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Silvia Orta

Committee Member

Anne Joslin

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


effective leadership, student achievement, leadership styles, student learning


The purpose of this study was to examine the existing literature regarding the leadership of the principals leading to student learning and to identify its influence on overall achievement. The aim was to help teachers use best practices in the classroom, to identify staff development topics, and to assist principals in choosing the correct professional development strategies. The research method used in this study was a systematic review based on the protocol outlined by the Cochrane Collaboration and guidance from the Preferred Reporting Items from Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Checklist (PRISMA). Findings from data abstraction and analysis revealed five leadership skill categories from the principals’ perspective, which suggested that principals can exert influence: Instruction Organization, Internal Environment Organization, Planning and Personnel, Visibility and Direct Participation, and External Relations. Highly effective principals have positive characteristics that lead to successful schools. On the other hand, principals the do not have these characteristics are in low-performing schools. For principals to have an impact on student achievement they need to create a purposeful community environment in their schools. The principal should be taking ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of the school. Future research should investigate how successful leadership influences student achievement and is it a direct or indirect influence. Finally, future studies should concentrate on the importance of how continuous change, closing the achievement gap, and school reform effects student achievement.