Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wasonga, Teresa A. (Teresa Akinyi), 1961-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School management and organization


The state of Illinois has raised the expectations for principal performance with the 2010 passage of the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), which requires 30% of a principal's evaluation to be linked to student achievement data. This reform effort is the latest iteration of school accountability measures that have been implemented in schools across the country. There have been increased efforts at the state and federal level to increase accountability for school performance as measured by standardized test results. The linkage of standardized test scores to individual evaluations marks the strongest efforts to bring accountability to principals for the academic performance of students. Current literature suggests the work of a principal has become too complex and stressful. The literature also suggests that external pressure to increase student achievement on standardized test scores can lead to unintended consequences. These external pressures can impact principal motivation levels and ultimately result in unintended consequences, such as principal turnover, a reluctance to work in higher poverty schools, or job dissatisfaction. While external or extrinsic factors can negatively impact principal motivation, there are internal or intrinsic factors that can positively impact principal motivation. The Self-Determination Theory of motivation indicates that individuals who experience high levels of autonomy, competence and relatedness have higher levels of motivation and are more productive employees. PERA legislation is an additional external factor that current principals must navigate as part of their job. Multiple analyses were conducted using the Basic Psychological Needs Survey (BPNS) to assess the motivations levels of principals with different evaluation performance ratings in different demographic settings. Analyses were also conducted to assess student academic performance and principal evaluation performance. T tests compared the motivation levels between distinguished principals and proficient principals in their overall ratings and each of the six IPSSL standards. Of the 28 different combinations, there were 21 instances of statistically significant differences in the mean scores with Distinguished principals scoring higher than Proficient principals. Further analysis of these findings reveals three meaningful takeaways. First, Competence was the basic need that had the larger effect size, and more likely to correlate to the principal's rating. Secondly, principals with ten years of experience have significantly higher levels of Competence than those with less than ten years of experience. Finally, the difference in Competence scores between principals with proficient ratings and distinguished ratings had a moderate effect size for Standard One and Standard Six of the IPSSL standards.


Advisors: Teresa Wasonga.||Committee members: Brad Hawk; Kelly Summers.||Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 128 pages




Northern Illinois University

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