Date of Award

Fall 1-6-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Sauers

Second Advisor

Dr. Will Rumbaugh

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Hendrick


Algebra I is considered a gateway course that provides students with additional opportunities for accelerated mathematics at the secondary level. Algebra I in eighth grade is a strategy that has been previously implemented to provide these additional opportunities and yielded mixed results. Drawing from Burn’s (1978) transformational leadership theory, this study explores the strategies of educational leaders that have led to success for a broad scale implementation of Algebra I for all eighth graders. Qualitative data was collected from schools that meet three criteria: increased enrollment of students in Math 6 Enhanced from the 2020-2021 school year to the 2021-2022 school year, successful completion of Math 6 Enhanced, and leaders in mathematics instruction that have been in the school for at least two years. Purposive sampling was used in this study and eight educational leaders were interviewed. The interviews were then transcribed then analyzed using In Vivo and focused coding. The key themes that emerged from the data are: (a) communicating for transparency, (b) additional supports for students, and (c) strategically selecting teachers. These three themes highlight how educational leaders can be successful in preparing all middle school students for Algebra I in eighth grade.


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