Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Robert Bartos

Committee Member

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Jean M. Dyszel


Learning-Focused Schools, student achievement, PSSA, school improvement


Learning-Focused Schools (LFS) is a research-based comprehensive school reform model designed to assist systems, schools, and teachers in using exemplary practices to increase learning and achievement. The purpose of the study was to analyze the first-year implementation of the model and determine its effect on the academic achievement in reading and math of fourth and fifth grade students. Student achievement data was obtained from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). Using data from the 2008 PSSA, the study compared achievement of students taught by teachers with formal training in the model with achievement of students taught by teachers with no formal training. The study also compared the 2008 PSSA scores and 2007 PSSA scores for both fourth and fifth grade samples. The study also analyzed and discussed survey data collected by the school district. The survey solicited teacher feedback on instructional strategies, planning time, formal training, and administrative support. The only significant finding from the study was increased reading achievement from the experimental group of fifth grade students taught by teachers with formal training in the model. Information from the survey provided evidence to support a successful first-year implementation of the model. A high percentage of teachers implemented expected strategies, met expectations for planning time, and reported adequate support from their building principals. In summary, the purpose for this dissertation topic was to provide the research school district and other districts with information that may guide future decisions for expanded implementation of the Learning-Focused Schools model. Information from the survey information may also assist in implementing effective further professional development necessary to sustain the model.