Date of Award
University or Center
Atlanta University (AU)
School of Education
Olivia M. Boggs
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between effective school characteristics and student achievement after the first year of implementing a school improvement project. The intent of this study was to analyze what occurred in terms of processes and products and to compare changes in school characteristics and student changes achievement in the treatment schools in the control schools. The study posed the following questions:
1. Was there a difference in the treatment group and in the control group in changes in effective school characteristics: environment, goals, leadership, expectations, time-on-task, monitoring student progress, and home/school relations?
2. Was the treatment group more successful than the control group based on student achievement of the basic skills?
3. What was the relationship between effective school characteristics and student achievement?
The study encompassed the use of an experimental design and employed techniques of ethnographic studies. Each group, treatment and control, consisted of three schools that were matched on socio-economic status and on student achievement. Six principals, 150 teachers, and 2,228 students were involved in the study. The treatment consisted of leadership training on effective school characteristics, the development and implementation of a school-based improvement plan, and staff development. The Connecticut · School Effectiveness Questionnaire, the California Achievement Test, and observed behavior were used as measurement tools. Data collected on thirty-five variables were subjected to t-tests, correlations, and factor analysis.
The results of the study appear to warrant the following conclusions:
1. The DeKalb County school-based model was successful in improving effective school characteristics in the treatment group. The treatment was highly related to each of the following effective school characteristics: environment, goals, leadership, expectations, time-on task, monitoring student progress, and home/school relations. This finding was verified by observed behavior. The control group did not show significant ii improvement in any of the seven effective school characteristics.
2. There was no significant relationship between the treatment and student achievement gains in mathematics and in reading when gains were disaggregated by individual students.
3. There was a significant relationship between achievement gains in reading and in mathematics in the treatment group when gains were aggregated.
4. There was a moderately significant relationship between mathematics gain and reading gain.
5. The treatment group was successful in improving the achievement of students in each quartile. The control group was successful scores of students in quartiles, but was not in improving the first, successful the achievement second, and third in improving the achievement of students in the fourth quartile.
6. There was no significant relationship between student achievement and each of the following characteristics: environment, goals, leadership, expectations, time-on task, monitoring student progress, and home/school relations.
7. The characteristics impacted the most during the first year of implementation were leadership, time-on-task, monitoring student progress, and goals.
8. The pretest characteristics that showed high relationships with each of the posttest characteristics iii were environment, expectations, and home/ school relations.
9. A high relationship was evidenced between pretest achievement and posttest achievement in mathematics and in reading. Reading achievement was also related to mathematics achievement.
10. When socio-economic status, sex, and grade were controlled, no significant relationship existed with any of the other thirty-two variables used in this study.
Tartt, Fannie Harrison, "School improvement: the relationship between effective school characteristics and student achievement in selected Dekalb County Schools" (1986). ETD Collection for AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. 1832.