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A Regression Study: Middle School Literacy Leadership Practices in Virginia Open Access

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AbstractA Regression Study: Middle School Literacy Leadership Practices in VirginiaThe National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reported that, in 2013, only 35% of Virginia's eighth grade students tested at or above the proficient level on the grade level assessment for reading (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). The Virginia State Report Card, published each year by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), reported that during the 2012-2013 school year, 29% of all tested eighth grade students failed to meet expectations in reading (VDOE, 2014). The Alliance for Excellent Education (2011) reported that a large number of students leave high school every year without the necessary skills to succeed and that reading and writing instruction across all grades must be addressed. Students are failing to graduate on time, and postsecondary and career goals of young students are suffering. This study looked specifically at how middle level principals might address the literacy needs of their schools and students.Several experts in the field of education have developed literacy leadership models to address the demands currently facing school leaders (Guth & Pettengill, 2005; Irvin, Meltzer, & Dukes, 2007; Phillips, 2005; Taylor & Collins, 2003). Based on a thorough examination and analysis of four literacy leadership models, five literacy leadership practices common to all models were identified. Survey data were collected in the following areas: literacy action planning, data-driven decision making, capacity building, instructional support, and resource allocation. Through descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis, this nonexperimental study assessed the extent to which middle school principals in Virginia employed the identified literacy leadership practices and the relationship of those practices to student achievement as measured by the Virginia Grade 8 Reading Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment. Although principals across the study identified that they did, in fact, employ the identified practices, the regression analyses resulted in nonsignificant findings at all levels.

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