Impact of leadership styles of the headteachers on students' academic achievement in secondary schools in Igembe North district.
Karwitha, Mercy Murithi
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The quality of leadership makes the difference between the success and failure of a school. It is important that the performance of a school is appraised against the performance of the person who leads it. Kenya certificate of secondary education results of Igembe North District have not been impressive for the last few years apart from few schools. The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of the leadership styles, role and demographic characteristics of the head teachers on students' academic achievement in Igembe North district. This study adopted a descriptive survey design. The study was conducted in Igembe North district of Kenya. The study employed questionnaires as an instrument to collect data for the study. These include: document analysis guide, Principals' Questionnaire, Teachers' Questionnaire (TQ) and Questionnaire for Students (QS). In testing the validity of research instruments, the researcher applied content validity where the supervisors from Kenya Methodist University from the department of education validated the instruments. Split Half was used to test the reliability of the research instruments. Data collection instruments were administered to the respondents personally by the researcher. A total of fifteen secondary schools in Igembe North district were involved in the study, one girls boarding, one boys boarding, twelve mixed day secondary schools and one mixed boarding school. Majority of the teachers relate poor performance to the democratic leadership style of the principal while others were in support of democratic style and autocratic. Other responses were given in support of Laissez faire. The results on perceived behavior rating on the Head teachers' leadership style by head teachers themselves as, fifty six democratic, forty six autocratic and thirty one Laissez faire. This study established that schools under authoritative leadership had a better mean score as compared to democratic and Laissez faire. This study has established that there is a very low correlation between the laissez-faire leadership style in secondary schools and school performance in secondary schools in Igembe North District. The study would directly benefit the school principals by choosing the appropriate leadership style that would positively improve students' achievement. It was concluded that democratic style is the most effective leadership style and an important resource input that plays its positive role in achieving academic achievement. The study recommends a review of the curriculum for the training of head teachers so that sufficient attention is given to management and leadership skills.