Distributed leadership practices and student science performance through the four-path model

Journal of Educational Administration
Issue number
Page range
Relates to study/studies
PISA 2015

Distributed leadership practices and student science performance through the four-path model

Examining failure in underprivileged schools


Purpose: As a failure analysis emphasizing school leadership in underprivileged schools serving socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority students, the study is interested in determining whether and to what extent variations in distributed leadership (DL) practices are related to student performance through the mediating effects of four-path variables.

Design/methodology/approach: This research conducted secondary data analysis using the 2015 PISA American data. The study employed factor analysis and structural equation models (SEMs) to investigate multidimensional associations among a set of variables, including school socioeconomic status (SES), student composition, DL practices, school four-path factors and student performance. The research used a design-based resampling approach with balanced repeated replication (BRR) weights to analyze the complex survey data.

Findings: The results indicate that, within a DL framework, teacher leadership in instructional management is positively and directly related to student performance. Governing board leadership in school administration is indirectly related to student performance through four-path variables' mediating effects. Importantly, though the two leadership sources help improve student performance, they are less prevalent in underprivileged schools with disproportional minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Originality/value: This research is a failure analysis through the lens of DL for underprivileged schools. The study used rigorous quantitative approaches and examined multidimensional associations among school socioeconomic status (SES), DL, school factors that school leaders could maneuver and student performance. The evidence sheds light on remedial actions in failed schools to focus on improving teacher leadership and organizational capacity.