Date of Award

7-23-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Valerie A. Storey

Second Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky

Third Advisor

Cassandra Cruz

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore whether William Deming's 8 Step Model would increase reading achievement in 3rd grade students. The study investigated how well the process based plan-do-check-act model when used as a treatment with fidelity, coupled with the principal as instructional leader would result in success in the age of federal accountability.

A qualitative case study methodology was adopted for the study. A school in northwest Indiana was selected and data were collected from interviews, field observations, focus group interviews, a principal questionnaire, and data analysis of student test scores. The focus of the school was quality teaching and learning. A visionary and collaborative leadership style modeled by the principal and leadership team provided the context for teaching and learning programs.

There was strong evidence to support the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy on which the 8 Step process is based, as well as visionary leadership, customer focus, collaborative decision making and empowerment for stakeholders as characteristics of TQM evident within the school.

As part of the TQM processes, the school district mandated training and development strategies which included individualized professional development plans; school development meetings and days: and the formation of teams to accomplish tasks within the realm of training and development initiatives.

Findings indicated that the process-based model is a fair indicator of increased reading achievement when used with fidelity. The results of this study support the need for continued research of infusing the 8 Step Process into the curriculum, coupled with a strong instructional leader to ensure adequate reading achievement.

Within the last eleven years, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001) has changed public education, altering the practices of schools and districts across the United States. Accountability for student achievement and overall school success has never been greater (Wohlstetter, Datnow, & Park, 2008). Overwhelming accountability pressures from state and federal government mean that educators can no longer choose teaching methods and materials based on personal preferences or ease of implementation (Englert, Fries, Goodwin, Martin-Glenn, & Michael, 2004; Guskey, 2007).

Alignment to state standards and academic rigor dominate decisions made in public school today. Assessments are used throughout the school year to collect data on student achievement and school leaders are responsible, not only for analyzing student data on standardized tests but also for devising a plan to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The No Child Left Behind Act has determined the growth that students must make each year on standardized tests if schools are to approach the lofty goal of 100% proficiency in reading and mathematics by 2014. The chart below shows the progression of AYP targets that schools are expected to male in districts across the nation.

Current trends in education suggest that the intense focus on accountability will likely continue at all levels of the educational system (Wohlstetter, Datnow & Park, 2008). Success at the district and school levels requires effective leadership from principals. NCLB has provided the leverage needed to promote academic improvements at the school level (Wohlstetter, Datnow & Park, 2008). National, state, and local education agencies continue to focus on educational performance and fixate on school and district-level accountability (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003).

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