Does cultural intelligence matter? Effects of principal and teacher cultural intelligence on Latino student achievement

Kathy S. Collins, Ibrahim Duyar, Carolyn L. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine whether the levels of cultural intelligence (CQ) of principals and teachers influence Latino students’ achievement. The study first tested the applicability of Ang and Van Dyne’s (2008) Cultural Intelligence Questionnaire (CQS) for the measurement of principals and teachers’ CQ levels by construct validating this instrument. Later, it investigated whether the CQ levels of principals and teachers explain the achievement levels of Latino students in mathematics and language arts. Design/methodology/approach: A naturalistic relational research design was used to study the relationships between the study variables. Participants included a cluster random sample of 86 principals and 311 teachers in a southern state. The convergent validation was used to establish the construct validity of the CQS by correlating CQS subscale scores with several measures of principal and teacher multicultural exposure. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the association between the principal and teacher CQS subscale scores and the Latino student achievement scores on state standardized tests. Findings: The four-factor structure of the CQS scale was found to be valid in the educational settings. Principals’ level of CQ significantly predicted Latino students’ achievement scores of eight grade math and eight grade language arts. On the contrary to the expectations, there was no evidence to suggest that teacher-level CQ as measured by the CQS is predictive of Latino student achievement. Further analyses showed that multicultural exposures of teachers, such as being multilingual and visiting other countries, significantly predicted Latino students’ language arts performance. Originality/value: This study has policy and research implications toward understanding and eliminating achievement gaps of Latino student populations. It sheds empirical light on whether this gap can be explained with the multicultural intelligence levels of principals and teachers, the two most influential actors in schools. By construct validating CQS, the study methodologically contributed to the pertinent educational research, which lacks instruments for the measurement of CQ levels of educational workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-488
Number of pages24
JournalJournal for Multicultural Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural intelligence questionnaire
  • Culturally responsive leadership
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Latino student achievement gaps
  • Multicultural exposure
  • Principal and teacher cultural intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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