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Exploring Principal Leadership's Longitudinal Impacts on High School Students' Racial Gaps in Mathematics

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Jiangang Xia

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Office of Research and Economic Development Research Council: Faculty Seed Grants

Award Date: Jan 1, 2022

End Date: Dec 31, 2022


Principal leadership is one of the most important school factors that influence student learning and other important educational outcomes. Although it is widely accepted that leadership practices affect student learning indirectly through various school processes, only recently have researchers started to examine the impact of these processes.

Although several frameworks have been developed to identify important mediating processes, research findings fail to define magnitude of effects, suffer from limited datasets and are not grounded in rigorous, longitudinal studies. And few studies have examined how principal leadership links to high school students’ racial gaps in mathematics outcomes, which are critical for ultimate equity and diversity in STEM fields.

Researchers aim to refine previous conceptual frameworks by examining how principal leadership may influence high school students’ racial mathematics gaps through three mediating pathways: school learning climate, teachers’ professional capacity and school-parent/community ties. They will examine influence via classroom instruction and upon three student mathematics outcomes (attitude, self-efficacy and achievement) longitudinally.

Based on this new framework and the nationally representative data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, this study will provide new empirical evidence on the pathways through which principal leadership addresses high school students’ racial gaps in mathematics. 

Findings will inform policy and practice with potential to change high school students’ learning trajectories.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being