First Advisor

Joel R. Arick

Term of Graduation

Spring 1992

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Policy




Elementary school dropouts -- United States, Elementary school principals -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, viii, 112 pages)


This study provides a description of the practices elementary school principals employ to reduce the likelihood that at-risk youth will actually experience school failure. The problem investigated in this study is reflected in this broad question: What is the relationship of principals' practices to the provision of service for at-risk youth?

Differences in the importance and frequency of use of practices by principals were compared. Variables such as school size, percentage of students who are eligible for free lunch, percentage of students who are at-risk, student mobility, and principal's rating of how successfully their school is serving at-risk youth were also investigated.

Thirty percent of the elementary principals employed in the metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon were randomly selected to participate in this study.

The research design was descriptive. Data were collected from the critical Principal Practices Profile, a questionnaire developed by the researcher and five practitioners after an extensive review of related literature.

Using a 4-point scale, principals indicated the importance and frequency of use of principals' practices for the provision of service for at-risk youth.

Eighty-three percent of the selected principals completed and returned the survey. Of the responding principals' schools: 25.9% had a student population greater than 600 students, 27.8% had more than 50% of the student body eligible for free lunch, and 43.5% had more than 32% of the student body at-risk of school failure.

A number of statistical treatments were performed in analyzing the data. According to the respondents, "Selection of Service Delivery Patterns" emerged as the most important practice (M = 3.65) and the most frequently used practice (M = 3.21) for serving at-risk youth. The practice "Selection of Service Delivery Patterns" was described by five explanatory items: identifying at-risk youth, requiring the modification of curricula, identifying suspension and expulsion alternatives, monitoring student performance, and implementing retention alternatives.

The principals' practices and the school demographics were compared using an ANOVA. Associations reaching a significant level were found between the independent and dependent variables; however, the importance and frequency of use patterns reported by the principals could not be consistently explained simply by school demographics.



In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision.

If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier