Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Prince, Debra L.

Committee Member

Brocato, D. Kay

Committee Member

Coats, Linda T.

Committee Member

Xu, Jianzhong

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


In this era of high stakes accountability, assessments are not only used as diagnostic tools, but they are also used to determine the effectiveness of school programs and personnel. Of the utmost importance is how principals use data to make instructional, intervention and planning decisions. The purpose of the current study was to determine principals’ perceptions regarding the importance, availability and utility of multiple sources of data in making their decisions and to determine their self-efficacy in M practices. This study was guided by 7 research questions and utilized 2 research designs. Descriptive research was used to answer research questions 1 through 6. Questions 1 through 3 sought to determine what data were available, used and important. Question 4 sought to determine the extent to principals relied on data to make decisions. Question 5 sought to determine the importance of different types of support for the effective use of data in decision-making. Question 6 sought to determine principals’ perceived self-efficacy in terms of effective data use. Question 7 was answered using correlational research to determine if principals’ measures of data use self-efficacy was related to student achievement. Overall, results showed that data surrounding student grades, attendance and discipline were most highly utilized in decision-making. All participating principals indicated that they either used data to a moderate degree or great degree when making decisions regarding development/revision of school improvement plan; inform parents of students’ progress/status/test scores; assignments of students to remedial programs; and improve classroom instruction. Data analysis further showed that principals indicated that school personnel trained in data analysis, sufficient time for data-analysis and staff development in the data analysis process are extremely important. Further analysis revealed that participating principals had high measures of data use self-efficacy and were highly certain that they could effectively use data. In the final analysis of the study, A Pearson’s r correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between principals’ self-efficacy scores and student achievement. It was determined that there is no relationship between measures of principals’ data use perceived self-efficacy and student achievement. The study concludes with recommendations for future research.