Effect of principals’ leadership styles on students academic performance in public secondary schools in Homa-Bay County, Kenya
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This study sought to examine the effect of principals’ leadership styles on students’ academic performances in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Examinations in public secondary schools in Homa-bay County, Kenya. The study was premised on a combination of modified Bossert’s framework and Pitner’s moderated theoretical frameworks which contend that principal’s role is influenced by intertwined factors including external antecedent variables and prevailing external environmental conditions. The study had two fold objectives, namely i) assess teachers perceptions regarding their principals leadership styles ii) analyze the relationship between principals leadership styles and students’ academic performance. The study adopted an ex-post facto research design. From an accessible 39 secondary schools, 36 were randomly selected to provide 36 principals and 216 teachers yielding an overall sample size of 252 respondents. Questionnaires were piloted to determine their validity and reliability before being used to collect quantitative data from sampled subjects. The study established that principals in the study locale used leadership styles that were not conducive to teacher-student interactive learner-centered learning that enhanced students’ academic performance. A test of hypothesis using the chi-square test of association (X2 =15.67, df =5) at ∝ =.05level of statistical significance further established that there was a significant relationship between the leadership styles applied by principals as perceived by teachers and students’ academic performance. The schools that embraced more democratic and participatory leadership styles that encouraged group work and team spirit performed significantly better than those that used more autocratic leadership styles that were largely dictatorial. Several recommendations were made key among them being that the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Education Staff Institute (KEMI) should intensify in-service training for school principals on use of learner-centered leadership styles geared towards enhancing students’ academic performance not only in the study locale of Homa-Bay County but other counties with similar management challenges[302 words].