Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Hayward Richardson, Ed.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

A STUDY OF THE LEARNING-FOCUSED SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

MODEL AND ITS EFFECT ON THIRD GRADE READING

SCORES IN A SUBURBAN, METROPOLITAN

SCHOOL SYSTEM

by

Douglas A. Daugherty

In 2001, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Education Act (NCLB). This act calls for a measurable annual increase in student achievement such that students reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic assessments.

A historical review of political involvement with education will add to that statement one more objective of the bill: to render more U.S. students globally competitive. Federal funding to state education is tied to the achievement of state standards. To achieve these heightened standards many schools and school systems are adopting whole-school reform models. According to Herman & Stringfield, 1997; Lappan & Houghton, 2003, whole-school reform should address organizational change, staffing, administrative support, curriculum and instruction, supplies and materials, scheduling, and monitoring of student progress and performance; all referred to as central components of the educational process.

The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the effectiveness of one specific whole-school reform model, Learning Focused Schools Program (LFSP), in a suburban school system for its ability to effect student achievement. The Learning Focused Schools Program was studied through its implementation and use in three suburban elementary schools and compared to three similar elementary schools not using the program.

Data from students’ test scores were collected and analyzed for student growth. There were several notable findings in this study. For all the students who participated in the LFSP continuously for a period of 3 years, more children met or exceeded standards than those not exposed to LFS. The results were different when the total population was broken into subgroups. Hispanic students and Multiracial students did not show any statistically significant improvement in any assessed category using the LFSP. More ELL students in the LFS treatment group exceeded standards than their peers who were not exposed to LFS. White students and Students with Disabilities did show statistically significant improvement resulting from the LFSP environment. Black students fared best overall when exposed to the LFS Program and mirrored the results of the “ALL Students” subgroup.

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