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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Michael Elium

First Committee Member

Ronald Hallett

Second Committee Member

Antonio Serna

Third Committee Member

Cathleen Hebert


The enactment of the NCLB Act of 2001 and its legislative mandates for accountability testing throughout the nation brought to the forefront the issue of data-driven decision making. This emphasis on improving education has been spurred due to the alleged failure of the public school system. As a result, the role of administrators has evolved to incorporate data-driven decision-making practices to help make educational choices. While the underlying assumption of implementing data-driven decision making is that it will lead to improvements in education, this has yet to be empirically proven. The purpose of the study was to analyze the relationships among school characteristics, principals' level of experience, principals' data-driven decision making practices, and student achievement. This census study addressed principals of k-5 public elementary schools. In this quantitative study, a web-based survey was used to measure principals' data-driven ion-making practices. The student achievement data examined were the California Standards Test results for English language arts and mathematics for the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 school years. Through a series of multiple regression analyses, the study examined the relationships among school characteristics, principals' level of experience, principals' data-driven decision making practices, and student achievement. Specifically. this study explored the amount of variance in student achievement scores in language arts and mathematics that could be explained by school characteristics, principals' level of experience, and data-driven decision-making practices. The results showed principals are incorporating data-driven decision-making practices in k-5 public elementary schools in California. In addition, the results showed that principals believe the quality of their decision making has improved due to implementing data-driven decision making. Principals indicated they were incorporating practices identified in the four constructs used in the present study: (a) establishing a data-driven culture, (b) data-driven decision making by teachers to improve student achievement, (c) supporting systems for DDDM, and (d) collaboration among teachers using data-driven decision making. A strong negative correlation was found between the number of students on free and reduced lunch and student achievement.





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