Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Steve Permuth

Keywords

administration, education, federal, leadership, rural

Abstract

In the age of accountability and assessment, there is a need to ensure that data provided regarding student achievement can be effectively and appropriately utilized by school site administrators in a systematic way to improve student achievement.

This study identified Heartland Educational Consortium Title I principals' and assistant principals' perceptions of their use of data as decision-makers in raising student achievement, with primary emphasis on Florida's Differentiated Accountability Model.

Quantitative results revealed statistically significant differences in data use by administrators. Use of data by administrators for professional development was statistically significantly different from school improvement, leadership, or data skills. Data monitoring processes differed statistically significantly from school improvement. School improvement was identified by administrators as the area in which they use data most. Professional development was identified by the administrators as the area in which they use data least. No statistically significant differences occurred between principals and assistant principals in use of data measured by subscales. Principals and assistant principals suggested that professional development, provided by school, district, and state personnel, supported their use of data. Overwhelmingly, time was cited most often by principals and assistant principals as a barrier to data use.

Findings suggest that administrators should continue to use data for achievement-related decision making for school improvement. Specifically, administrators should continue to work with leadership teams, school staffs, and School Advisory Councils to identify school improvement strategies using multiple sources of data and analyzing trends. Contradictory findings imply that administrators reevaluate how they use data for professional development. School district personnel should reevaluate their professional development programs for administrators. An additional implication from the findings is that district personnel must support school level administrators in "finding time" to analyze data. District administrators should consider strategies for school level administrators which eliminate time as a factor mitigating using data.

The limited sample size provides a need to replicate with a larger size. A larger sample might provide insight into statistically significant differences between perceptions of assistant principals and principals.

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