Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Bryan Griffin

Committee Member 2

Juliann Sergi McBrayer


The purpose of this research study was to examine the factors that may influence elementary and middle school principals’ choice of heterogeneous, homogeneous, or within-class ability grouping in Southeast Georgia. This study employed a quantitative, methodological research design along with descriptive analyses of four research questions using a convenience sample. Data from 64 elementary and middle school principals were received during the spring of 2018 and analyzed to determine the factors that influence their grouping practices.

This study focused on one overarching research question: What factors may be related to principals’ grouping practices in utilizing heterogeneous, homogeneous, or within-class ability grouping in schools in Southeast Georgia to include the Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) areas of First District, Heart of Georgia, Okefenokee, and Central Savannah River Area? Similarly, the following sub-questions supported the overarching research question to look at the relationship between principals’ grouping practices and (1) organizational factors, (2) external factors, (3) personal factors, and (4) demographic factors.

Information gathered clarified an understanding of factors that have the greatest influence on principals’ grouping practices. The research uncovered that there was no association between organizational and demographic factors and a principals’ grouping practice. Likewise, only two external factors showed an association. Principals in the research expressed that parent and teacher preferences are associated with their grouping practice. On the other hand, all personal factors had an association with the principals’ grouping practice. It was apparent that the principals’ belief and personal experience are associated with their choice of grouping.

Research Data and Supplementary Material