Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Charles A. Reavis

Committee Member 2

Sonya S. Shepherd

Abstract

Elementary principals are required to perform a variety of duties which include, but are not limited to, administrative and instructional tasks. Intense job accountability for all students to raise the achievement of at-risk third grade students has caused principals to face challenges and to use strategies to increase student achievement. The demands of the job of principal of an elementary Title I school are complex, especially when many of the students in the school are at-risk of failure. The legislative No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 mandates and obligates principals to do their best for all students enrolled in Title I elementary schools especially for those students who are at-risk. This study revealed both challenges of principals in working with third grade at-risk students as well as strategies principals use to raise at-risk third grade student achievement. The researcher explored the challenges that Georgia two elementary principals faced in raising achievement of at-risk third grade students and the strategies that principals use to raise achievement of at-risk third grade students using a qualitative, phenomenological research design. The Phenomenological research design was appropriate for this study because it provided a means for the researcher to explore the lived experiences of two Georgia elementary principals at two Title I schools. The collection of data was obtained through school observations, interviews with two principals, eight teachers, and focus group discussions with parents, and school artifacts. Four common themes and patterns emerged from the qualitative research study in each area of challenges and strategies used. Challenges that principals faced in raising achievement of at-risk third grade students: (1) lack of teacher training to know how to work with some at-risk students, (2) inadequate funding for teaching at-risk third grade students, (3) maintaining smaller class size, (4) lack of time and knowledge to gather and analyze at-risk third grade student achievement data. Strategies that principals use to raise achievement of at-risk third grade students: (1) teacher training for working with at-risk third grade students, (2) programs used to raise achievement of at-risk third grade students, (3) use of effective leadership practices by principals to raise at-risk third grade students achievement, and (4) parent and community involvement in the schools to raise achievement of at-risk third grade students.

Share

COinS