Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Edna M. Meisel

Second Advisor

Ronald B. Childress

Third Advisor

Lisa A. Heaton

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Williams


The purpose of this case study was to investigate principals’ instructional philosophical orientations (IPOs) and the students’ level of engagement in Kanawha County Schools (KCS). The district was in the fourth year of analyzing student well-being, hope, and engagement data through Gallup Surveys (Gallup, 2014) in an effort to help move the system forward. This study considered the differences between the principal and student engagement levels by analyzing the principals’ instructional philosophical orientation holistically and within each of four families of instructional models. This study described the principals’ preference for the instructional models and compares these preferences to student engagement levels in their schools.

The principals’ IPO was measured through a profile created from the results of the 28 item Instructional Philosophy Survey. Forty elementary and 24 secondary principals were included in the data analysis.

Kanawha County School elementary students were found to be more engaged than KCS secondary students. A large effect size was found with statistical significance. Mean percent levels of student engagement were compared to all principals’ full IPO profiles with no statistical significance. However, when the principals’ IPO levels were considered by each of the instructional models to the mean percent levels of student engagement, significance was attained with gender, the personal instructional model and the social model.

More research on comparing elementary and secondary engagement levels with a larger population may provide additional data that would add to the knowledge base on student engagement. A study related to the male and female principals’ knowledge and understanding of different instructional models may prove beneficial and provide further insight into the principals’ philosophical orientation.


Educational leadership.

School principals.