The headteachers' leadership styles, effectiveness and students academic achievement in Siaya District, Kenya
Ochiel, David william Okoth
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the headteachers' leadership styles, effectiveness and students academic achievement (SAA) in public and private secondary schools in Siaya District, Kenya in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations from the year 2001 to 2004. First, the study established the headteachers' leadership styles and how these styles were related to the headteachers personal characteristics of. gender, age, level of education, teaching and administrative experience, duration of in-service training, perception of leadership theories and situational factors of categories of school, leaders-member relations and both students and teachers population of a school. Second, the study attempted to establish the extent of relationship between the headteachers leadership styles and the SAA. The study used a correlation design, which is descriptive in nature. The target population was 72 secondary schools, seventy-two headteachers and 682 teachers. Only 30 schools, which had been having the same headteachers and had presented students for KSCE examinations from the year 2001 to 2004, were purposively sampled. Two types of research tools were used in the study to elicit data: two self-administered questionnaires and one documentary analysis checklist. The questionnaires (the general and LBD scale) for the teachers were used to collect data regarding their age, gender and teaching experience and the teachers' views of their headteachers' leadership styles. The headteachers' questionnaire was in three parts; the general, the least preferred co-workers (LPC) and the leader-member relations (LMR) scales. The general questionnaires were used to obtain data on headteachers' personal characteristics and situational factors aforementioned. The LPC and LMR scale questionnaires were used to solicit data on headteachers' leadership styles and their relations with the staff respectively. The document analysis checklist provided information regarding the SAA in KCSE examinations. The validity and reliability of these instruments were pre-tested and enhanced and a coefficient of 0.7 and above was worked with. The data obtained by the instruments were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency distribution, percentages, means, standard deviation and Spearman rho. The standard deviation was used to determine the spread from the mean of the SAA while Spearman rho static was used to determine the direction and extent/strength of relationship between headteachers' leadership styles and SAA. The major study findings were as follows: the teachers rated 19 (67.9 %) headteachers in the public secondary schools category as being relationship oriented leaders, 9 (32.1 %) as task oriented leaders, while both the 2 (100%) headteachers in the private secondary schools were rated as being task oriented leaders. No statistically significant relationship was found between the headteachers' leadership styles and both their personal qualities and other factors which included: gender, age, duration in a given school, headship and administrative experiences, academic and professional qualifications, perception of leadership theories, categories of schools depending on the teachers' and students' populations, students' residential place and sex and number of classes in a school. However, There was a statistically significant relationship between a headteacher's leadership style and his/her duration of leadership in-service training and also with his/her relationship with the staff. On the other hand, a curious finding was that a statistically significant relationship between headteachers' leadership styles and students' academic achievement in KCSE examination from the year 2001 to 2004 was absent. The study concluded that the extent of realization of the educational and learning objectives in the secondary tier of education system as stipulated out by the MoEST and evaluated by KNEC, through KCSE examinations were rather low in Siaya District. This is because the district recorded somewhat low student academic achievement from 2001 to 2004. However, the headteachers leadership styles seemed not to have been the major contributing factor towards the fairly low SAA. The study recommends first, an explicit theory development showing the yardstick for establishing leadership effectiveness in secondary schools in Kenya. Second a policy framework to motivate practicing and aspiring headteachers to attend KESI in-service training programme. Third, a further research in Siaya District to establish the more likely factors that caused the reported relatively low SAA and the study should also be replicated using a different design, instruments, area or in the same area probably after at least four years from 2004.