• Background to the Study

Secondary schools, like any other organization or institution, rely heavily on its leadership. Principals are the most senior administrators in schools and are responsible for overseeing both instructional and extracurricular programs. Students’ achievement and the school’s overall efficacy are both influenced by the principal’s leadership style (Ting, 2016). The goal of this literature review is to look at how different types of school administrators manage their schools and how it affects student achievement. Authoritarian or autocratic leadership is a typical kind of administration in which the principal has absolute power over the school and takes all the important decisions without seeking input from the faculty or students. Students’ academic achievement may suffer under such a leader. Students in schools with an authoritarian leadership style do worse academically than their peers in schools with a democratic leadership style, according to research by Mller and Olsson (2012). The study participants reported decreased levels of motivation and disengagement from classroom activities when attending authoritarian institutions. They also tend to worry and stress more than other students, which might affect their schoolwork. The principal may also choose a democratic or participatory leadership style, in which all staff members and students have a voice in making decisions that affect the school. Students’ academic success may improve as a result of this leadership style’s emphasis on community building and stakeholder buy-in. Academic attainment is greater in schools with a more democratic leadership style, according to research by Manzoor et al. (2014). Teachers and students in schools with participatory leadership were shown to be more engaged in both academic and extracurricular activities, which in turn led to higher test scores. Another sort of leadership that has gained popularity in the field of education is transformational leadership. With this approach to leadership, both educators and students are inspired to work for ambitious, long-term goals.

Kim and Choi (2016) found that transformative leaders positively impacted student achievement in secondary schools. Higher academic accomplishment was found in schools where transformational leaders promoted a culture of belonging, teamwork, and creativity among the school’s constituents. To inspire staff and pupils, a transactional leader would deploy a system of incentives and punishments.

Teachers are less happy in their jobs and student achievement is poorer in schools led by transactional leaders, according to research by Bao (2015). According to the study’s authors, a transactional leader’s lack of inspiration in the classroom might have a negative impact on students’ learning. Furthermore, servant leadership is an emerging model of management that places an emphasis on others’ needs before one’s own. Because schools are service organizations whose primary mission is the intellectual and personal growth of their pupils, this type of leadership is well suited to the educational setting.

Servant leadership has been shown to improve student achievement in secondary schools, according to research by Arslan et al. (2015). According to the study’s authors, pupils’ grades might improve thanks to the cooperative atmosphere created by servant leaders. However, the aforementioned leadership styles are not exclusive of one another, and it is difficult to classify school administrators into one leadership style solely; a combination of leadership styles can be applied depending on the scenario. For example, Liu et al. (2019) point out how crucial it is for a leader to choose a method that strikes a balance between transformative and transactional approaches.

According to the study’s authors, a well-rounded leadership approach boosts academic performance, student outcomes, and faculty morale. In summary, this literature review highlights the significance of a secondary school principal’s leadership style on students’ academic success. Democratic, transformational, servant leadership styles promote a sense of belonging and foster community, collaboration, and innovation among the stakeholders, all of which are essential ingredients to improving student outcomes and school effectiveness, while authoritarian leadership styles hinder student motivation and engagement. Thus, principals should adopt a flexible leadership approach that draws from a variety of models. Finding the best leadership styles for various situations and investigating the elements that influence the application of these styles are important areas for future study.

  • Statement of the Problem

Nigeria’s education system, like that of many other developing nations, struggles with inadequate financing, scarce resources, and outdated facilities. Low academic achievement may result from a combination of these problems and ineffective administration in secondary schools. As a result, research on the connection between principals’ leadership styles and student achievement in Nigerian secondary schools is warranted. It has been noted that principals in secondary schools across Nigeria display a wide range of approaches to school administration.

Some school administrators prefer to run things by themselves, without getting input from instructors or pupils, and this is known as an authoritarian style of management. To get the instructors and students involved in making decisions, some principals use a more democratic or participatory approach. In addition, there are principals that use a transactional leadership style, which places an emphasis on getting things done and encouraging good behavior by means of incentives and sanctions.

There is yet to be extensive research on how different leadership styles affect student achievement in Nigerian secondary schools. While there are a number of research on the topic, most of them are done in industrialized nations and lack a contextual framework, making it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.

There is a need for research that may give evidence-based insights related to the particular setting of secondary schools in Nigeria, where the factors that effect academic achievement may differ from those in industrialized nations. As such, the question being asked is, “How does the principal’s leadership style correlate with student achievement in Nigerian secondary schools, and how can we use this correlation to boost the quality of secondary education in Nigeria?” If this question can be answered, it may shed light on how secondary school administrations might be better organized to boost student achievement. Such knowledge might help shape plans and initiatives to improve the quality of secondary school leadership in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study include the following:-

  • To find out the most commonly used leadership style among principals in Dustinma Local Government Area
  • To identify if there is any significant relationship between principal and leadership style and students’ academic performance.
  • To investigate the differences in students’ performance under principals using autocratic leadership style and those using democratic leadership style

1.4 Research questions

Base on the above research objectives, the following research questions are suggested:

  • Which leadership style is most commonly used by principals in secondary schools in Dustinma Local Government Area?
  • Is there any significant relationship between principals’ leadership style and students’ academic performance?
  • Is there any significant difference in students’ performance in schools having principals using autocratic leadership style and in schools having principals using democratic leadership styles?
  • Significance of the Study

The success of a school and its pupils is directly related to the leadership style of its principal. The study’s results might also be used to guide policy decisions on how principals are selected, trained, and evaluated. If research shows that particular types of leadership have a more beneficial effect on student outcomes, then schools and education authorities can work to improve principals’ knowledge and abilities so that they can implement such styles. Finally, the research has the potential to add to what is already known about school administration in Nigeria. There is scant study on the relationship between leadership styles and academic success in Nigeria, in contrast to other nations. This research has the potential to provide light on how different types of school leadership affect student achievement in Nigeria. This research is important because it might help shape educational policy in Nigeria and provide light on the effect principals’ leadership styles have on student achievement in the country’s secondary schools. The research has the potential to add to what is already known about school administration in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope and Limitations

The aim of this study was to examine the Impact of principal’s leadership style on secondary school performance  in Dustinma Local Government secondary schools.

1.8 Operation Definition of the Terms

  1. Principal: – Principal is the chief or head or director of the school. He is an overall person in charge (boss) in the school setting.
  2. Leadership Style: – Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. These are the ways principals handled subordinates to achieve their goals or targets in the secondary schools and these are seen / observable practically.
  3. Student A student is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution.
  4. Academic Performance:- academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPAand completion of educational degrees.
  5. Secondary School: Secondary schoolis the next step up from primary school. 
  6. Influence: the strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person