Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathryn Swetnam


The relationship between transformational leadership and student academic achievement in diverse urban elementary schools is under-researched. However, studies have indicated that there are no evident gains in student achievement when administrators and teachers differ on views of effective leadership practices. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between teachers' perceptions of administrator leadership practices and student achievement in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics within diverse elementary schools. Burns's seminal theory on transformational leadership was the theoretical framework for this study. The research questions were designed to explore the relationship between teachers' perceived rating of transformational leadership practices of administrators and student academic achievement in ELA and mathematics. The study was a secondary analysis of publicly available data from 595 elementary schools surveyed by the New York City Department of Education. Two one-way analysis of variance were conducted. From the data, a post hoc test was conducted that determined significant differences between teacher ratings of administrators and student achievement levels in ELA and mathematics. The results indicated the higher the transformational leadership score of administrators, the greater the student academic achievement level. This study may influence district superintendents to offer professional development to administrators, to participate in intervisitation between higher achieving schools and lower achieving schools, and to have administrators mentor one another in cohorts. Positive social change may result by assisting and guiding administrators to use effective transformational leadership practices to improve school climate, trust, and job satisfaction.