Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Phillip Belfiore

Committee Member

Richard O'Dell

Committee Member

Robert Oliver


AYP, school board leadership, school boards, student achievement


This study investigated what, if any, relationship exists between school board governance practices and student achievement as demonstrated by a school district's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores in both math and reading for 2007-2008 school year. To measure the effectiveness of governance practices, a survey created by Thomas Holland and adapted by Richard Smoley (1999), which empirically assesses the performance of school boards, was administered to members of the following types of public school boards: urban, suburban, rural, and charter. Smoley's survey measures six dimensions of effectiveness: Decision Making, Functioning as a Group, Exercising Authority, Connecting to the Community, Working Toward Board Improvement, and Acting Strategically. The literature surrounding the proper role of a school board and how that developed throughout the history of the United States was reviewed, particularly as it pertains to the accountability culture that exists in today's education system which has spawned many alternative schools such as charters. The literature surrounding what makes an effective board and how that can be quantified was also reviewed.

73-question survey was administered in person to all board members prior to a public meeting. Those not in attendance were mailed a survey directly or a copy was provided to them by the board secretary. Once all participants had returned their survey, the scores were calculated and correlated to the most recent AYP scores in math and reading for the corresponding school district. Following Pearson Product Moment statistical analysis, no positive correlation was found. The board with the highest overall score on the survey directed the charter school, which had the lowest AYP scores in both math and reading. It should be noted, however, that that charter board directed a district whose mission was to educate vulnerable students. Conversely, the urban school board had the lowest survey scores yet their students performed above those of other districts in both math and reading. Despite the results of this particular study, further research is encouraged because of the fact that effective school board governance and its relationship to student achievement is largely understudied.