Sun, J., Zhang, R., Murphy, J., & Zhang, S. (2024). The effects of academic press on student learning and its malleability to school leadership: A meta-analysis of 30 years of research. Educational Administration Quarterly, 0(0).

This study aimed to analyze the impact of academic press (AP) and school leadership styles on K-12 student achievement, along with examining any moderating factors. It reviewed 79 quantitative studies spanning 30 years, employing standard meta-analysis techniques. The findings indicated that AP had a significant effect on student achievement, while school leadership also influenced AP. These effects varied based on different measures of leadership or AP, school levels, and learning subjects.

The study highlighted the importance of school leaders in enhancing student achievement by promoting AP, particularly in high schools and schools with economically disadvantaged students. It emphasized the need for principals to employ various practices to foster academic excellence.

Over the past decades, educational policies worldwide have focused on improving student achievement. AP, which refers to the extent to which schools emphasize academic success, has been identified as a crucial factor influencing student outcomes. Despite some conflicting findings, numerous studies have shown a positive relationship between AP and student achievement.

The study also underscored the indirect impact of school leadership on student achievement through fostering AP. It suggested that different leadership styles and practices contribute to enhancing AP in schools. Moreover, the findings indicated that AP plays a critical mediating role between school leadership and student achievement, amplifying the effects of other contributing factors.

However, the study acknowledged certain limitations, such as the focus on teacher-perceived AP and the need for further research to explore specific leadership practices’ effectiveness in different contexts. Additionally, future studies could utilize advanced statistical methods to confirm the identified pathways through which school leaders influence student achievement.

Learn more at Educational Administration Quarterly.