Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

Western Kentucky University


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Miller, Stephen

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Smith, Douglas

Committee Member

Smith, Douglas

Committee Member

Tretter, Thomas

Committee Member

Carpenter, Bradley

Author's Keywords

school; reform; improvement; accountability; standards; indicators


Through the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990, Kentucky enacted sweeping reform that sought to equalize educational finance. With the foundational principle that all children can learn at high levels, the Kentucky Department of Education penned the Standards and Indicators for School Improvement (SISI) to guide the Scholastic Audit—a school improvement process, underscored by the nine standards and 88 indicators of the SISI. With the theoretical framework of Systems Theory, the current research investigates Kentucky reform through the lens of the SISI and Scholastic Audit. The central research question for the current study is the following: To what extent is Academic Performance (Standards 1-3 from Kentucky’s SISI) related to elementary science accountability scores? The current study employs a secondary Scholastic Audit database maintained by the KDE of 181 elementary schools (N = 181) who conducted a Scholastic Audit between 2001-2005. Additionally, repeat incidences of Scholastic Audit cases were removed to create a purposeful sample of 164 elementary schools (n = 164). Descriptive statistics were performed to assess various possible relationships that could affect school achievement outcomes. Factor Analysis and Cronbach’s (1951) coefficient alpha were employed to assess the possibility of data reduction for the Academic Performance standards and their respective indicators. Simultaneous multiple regressions were used to calculate possible relationships among the demographic factors, the Academic Performance standards, and the Science Academic Index. Additionally, a hierarchical multiple regression equation was employed to determine the relationships of the three Academic Performance standards on the Science Academic Index, while controlling for demographic factors. Standards 1-3 collectively explained 28% of the variance on the elementary science portion of the Academic Index, while only Standard 2, Classroom Evaluation/Assessment yielded a significant impact. Demographic factors accounted for 62.6% of the overall variance on the elementary science component of the Academic Index. The three Academic Performance standards remained fairly independent of demographic factor influence. During the hierarchical multiple regression equation, the addition of the three SISI Academic Performance standards in Step 2 added .046 in Adjusted R2 value. The final hierarchical regression model explained 68.0% of the total variance on the Science Academic Index.