Title page for ETD etd-11132008-170425

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Atkins, Rosa Stocks
Author's Email Address ratkins@vt.edu
URN etd-11132008-170425
Title School Practices and Student Achievement
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Craig, James R. Committee Co-Chair
Parks, David J. Committee Co-Chair
Salmon, Richard G. Committee Member
Twiford, Travis W. Committee Member
  • student achievement
  • school improvement
  • professional development
  • opportunity to learn
  • leadership
  • accountability
  • data driven decisions
  • curriculum alignment
  • school culture
Date of Defense 2008-10-30
Availability unrestricted

After implementing a statewide standardized testing program in 1998, the Virginia Department of Education realized that some schools were making great gains in student achievement while other schools continued to struggle. The Department conducted a study to identify the practices used by schools showing improvement. Six effective practice domains were identified. The current study was a follow-up to the research conducted by the Virginia Department of Education.

A questionnaire measuring the six effective practice domains: (a) curriculum alignment, (b) time and scheduling, (c) use of data, (d) professional development, (e) school culture, and (f) leadership was administered to teachers in 148 schools in Virginia; 80 schools participated. Two questions guided the study: (1) How frequently do schools use the Virginia Department of Education effective practices, and (2) what is the relationship between the use of the effective practices and school pass rates on the 3rd grade 2005 Standards of Learning (SOL) reading test? Descriptive statistics, linear regression, and discriminant function analysis were applied to explore the relationships between the predictor variables (percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch and the use of the effective practices) and the criterion variable (school pass rate on the 2005 SOL 3rd grade reading test). Academic culture and the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch accounted for significant amounts of the variance in school pass rates. The remaining five effective practice measures were not related to school pass rates. The measures may have affected the results. In most cases, one person was used as the proxy for the school, and this person may have provided a biased assessment of what was happening in the school.

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