Demographic And Personality Correlates Of Principals’ Performance In The Management Of Secondary Schools In South-South Nigeria

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The study examined the relationship between demographic and personality variables and principals’
performance in the management of secondary schools in South-South, Nigeria. The corelational survey design
was adopted for the study. 13 research questions and 10 hypotheses guided the study. The population of the
study comprised of 1,356 principals of public secondary schools. The sample for the study consisted of 310
principals obtained using Taro Yamen’s formula. Proportionate stratified random sampling was used to select
the number of principals per state while disproportionate stratified random sampling was used to select the
number of principals per senatorial zone for fair representation. Four instruments namely: principals’
motivational factors questionnaire (PMFQ), principals’ leadership style questionnaire (PLSQ), principals’
performance scale (PPS), and plant observation rating scale (PORS) were used for data collection. These
instruments were face validated by three experts: Two in educational administration and planning, and one in
measurement and evaluation, from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The overall internal consistency reliability
co-efficient index of the instruments obtained through cronbach alpha method were 0.97 for principals’
motivational factors questionnaire, 0.60 for principals’ leadership style questionnaire, 0.93 for principals’
performance scale, and 0.95 for plant observation rating scale. The data collected were presented using means,
standard deviations, and correlation co-efficient. The null hypotheses were tested using multiple regressions and
associated t-tests at 0.05 level of significance. It was found that most principals were males, married, had first
degrees in different aspects of education, and have served as principals and vice principals for not more than 11
years. Principals in South-South, Nigeria exhibited open leadership styles. The factors that motivated principals
in the performance of their duties were nature of work, recognition, responsibility, achievement and prospects
for advancement. Principals’ performance was high in instructional supervision, communication, decisionmaking,
provision of incentives, financial management, adherence to legal status, and conflict management.
Their performance was low in human resources development, public relations, and school plant management.
Leadership styles, educational qualification, and working experience had substantial correlation coefficients
with principals’ performance in some task areas of management of secondary schools. Demographic and
personality factors had joint significant relationship (P<0.05) with principals’ performance in all the task areas
of management of secondary schools. These variables predicted 16.3%, 25%, 28.7%, 38.3%, 32.6%, 20.8%,
15.2%, 17.4%, 34%, and 6.8% of the variance in instructional supervision, communication, decision making,
provision of incentives, human resource development, public relations, financial management, adherence to
legal status, conflict management and resolution, and plant management respectively. The following variables
predicted performance in different task areas; Leadership style predicted in all the task areas except plant
management; location in instructional supervision, communication and plant management; marital status in
decision making and public relations; experience as principals in financial management; and academic
qualification in plant management.

Age and gender did not predict principals’ performance in any of the task
areas. Major implications is that leadership style, experience, qualification and marital status impacted
positively on principals’ performance; and the performance of principals will not depend whether the person is a
male. Based on these findings and implications, it was recommended that appointment of principals should not
be based on age and gender since they have no substantial relationship with any of the task areas while
educational qualification, years of working experience, and marital status should be considered since these
variables have significant and substantial relationship with principals’ performance in different task areas of
management. Professional development and capacity building programmes in human resources development,
public relations, and school plant management should be constantly organized by government for principals
since their performance was low in these tasks areas. Besides, effort to improve the level of motivation of
principals should be made by the respective state governments on the provision and maintenance of school
facilities, and the involvement of principals in decision-making.



Background to the Study

Secondary Education is a six-year form of education which children receive after primary
school before proceeding to the tertiary level of education. According to the National Policy of
Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004), secondary education is the form of education
attended by children after primary education and before tertiary education with the aim of
preparing individual for useful living within the society and for tertiary education. Secondary
educations exist within the ambits of the law and are supervised by the Ministry of Education
and its State agencies.

For instance Section 18(3)b of the Constitution of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria 2011 as amended provides for the existence of free secondary education while the
Nigerian Educational Edicts and laws promulgated in 1955 and 1965 covered the rights of
Secondary Education. The education laws promulgated by the states in the Federation laid down
rules and regulations in respect of administration and management of Secondary Education.
The principal is the administrative head of secondary schools who ensures the effective
implementation of policies and progammes for the achievement of the school goals. For the
attainment of the objectives of secondary schools, the curriculum has been developed to suit such
desires which are to be implemented by the Principal with the coorporation of competent
The authority of the secondary school principal, according to Ogbonnaya (2009), is
viewed in the position occupied as well as the functions performed. The Principal implements
the educational programmes of the school, ensured the provision of facilities and equipment,
keeps records both statutory and non-statutory in addition to creating a conducive teaching and
learning atmosphere in schools. These are summed up by Ogbonnaya cited in Mgbodile (2004)
into five areas, namely: Development and implementation of educational programmes,
Development of teaching staff, Student relation function, Community relation function and
financial function. Similarly, Ocho and Okeke (1997) classified these functions into five namely:
management of instructional programme, staff personnel administration, student personnel
administration, financial and physical resource management. Stoner (2002) noted that
supervision of the teaching and learning process, decision making, conflict resolution,
communication, record keeping, fund management, plant management, public relations and
compliance to legal stipulations are critical aspects of school management. In this study, the
following aspects namely: Instructional supervision, communication, decision making, provision
of incentives for teachers and students, human resource development, public relations, funds
management, plant management, adherence to statutory provisions, and conflict
management/resolution are considered.
Instructional supervision has to do with what the principal does to promote or direct
teaching and learning in the school. This according to Mgbodile (2004) involves the task of
ensuring that organized teaching and learning is effective in the school system. This is done by
the principal to see that meaningful learning takes place in all classes and that teachers are
teaching what they are supposed to teach and are undertaking the teaching in a manner that the
students understand and enjoy their lessons. The essence of instructional supervision is to assist
teachers with ideas and suggestions that will improve their instructional delivery, as well as
identify their needs and problems. Haruna (2008) noted that instructional supervision is the first
and the most important responsibility of a school principal. No wonder Carter (2008) explained
that the cardinal index of the performance evaluation of the school administrator rests on the
leadership ability in instructional supervision.


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