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Perceptions of the levels of responsibility and importance of selected duties and activities of the elementary school assistant principal

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


The purposes of this study were to describe and compare California elementary school principals' and assistant principals' perceptions of the assistant principals' levels of responsibility for selected duties and activities and their perceptions of the importance of these duties and activities, and to describe selected personal and professional characteristics of assistant principals. Questionnaires for principals and assistant principals were developed and distributed to administrators in 119 randomly selected California elementary schools in which there were full time assistant principals and a K-5 or K-6 grade configuration. Over 59 percent of the possible paired responses were returned, and several non-paired responses were received from both assistant principals and principals. Findings were based on analysis of data resulting from application of appropriate statistical procedures, including deviations, and paired t-tests. Assistant principals generally believed they had more responsibility for administrative activities than principals believed they had. Differences between their perceptions were significant (p $\leq$.01) for five activities. Assistant principals perceived the majority of the selected activities to be more important to the school's educational program than principals did. Administering student discipline, counseling pupils, and evaluating teachers were the three activities perceived by both principals and assistant principals as those for which the assistant principal had the most responsibility, those most important to the school's educational program, and those on which the assistant principal spent the most time. The majority of assistant principals respondents were female, 45 years of age or younger, and desirous of becoming principals. Most respondents indicated that the duties of the assistant principal were determined by the principal or jointly by the principal and the assistant principal. Three recommendations were proposed. Assistant principals should be given more responsibility for activities perceived as important by principals and assistant principals. School boards should adopt policies to clarify the function of the assistant principal. Assistant principals should be given an increasing amount of responsibility for activities as they spend more time in the position.



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