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ERIC Number: ED537040
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 172
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-9886-3
Decision Making under Multiple Accountability Policies: A Study of Genesee County's High School Leaders
Smith, Keith Newton
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This study sought to understand which aspects of current school accountability measures cause high school principals the most concern and what specific actions they were taking to address their concerns. This study took place in Genesee County Michigan. The primary method of data collection was semi-structured interviews. Thirteen traditional high school principals participated in the study. Building leaders identified the top concerns with current school accountability measures they face. Fifty-eight concerns were identified by participants in this study. The 58 concerns were combined into 12 overall concerns. Adequate Yearly Progress stood out as the primary concern of high school principals. Concerns with the Michigan Merit Curriculum and Michigan Merit Exam closely followed. The three concerns AYP, MMC, and MME comprised the top concerns identified in this study that were shared by nearly all participants. Mid-level concerns were comprised of Highly Qualified Status, Graduation Rate, School Improvement, and Education Yes!. Following the identification of these building leaders concerns, participants were asked to identify what actions they had taken to address their concerns. These actions were coded into six categories: course and curriculum changes; development of teachers; instructional targeting, development, and assessment; interventions; leadership; and organizational structure and management. This study showed that policy has been effective at prompting action within schools. The federal NCLB and state Education Yes! policies have gotten high school principals to take action directed at various aspects of these policies. An interesting finding of this study is that policy has created a situation where building leaders are more prone to take action to address their concerns. High school principals, from buildings obtaining a B grade on the Michigan School Report Card took nearly twice as many actions compared to school earning A's, C's, and D's. Unfortunately the situations that provoked action were not the ones policy would have highlighted. It was very apparent that high school principals in this study are not acting from a deep diagnostic sense of the problems they face. This problem is compounded by participants use of a piecemeal approach coupled with the absence of a strong planning process. Participants were not only uncertain about the effectiveness of the actions they were taking but also relied heavily on neighboring schools to provide for models to emulate. Overall, this study suggests that while concerns and actions taken by high school principals correspond with policy elements that carried the highest stakes for schools, the actions were not focused on increasing the quality of classroom instruction that high school students receive. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001