Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


There is little debate about whether or not the U.S. education system is in need of reform. Some people believe that public education reform will come about with high-stakes accountability and policies like No Child Left Behind (2001). States around the nation are facing similar questions. For example, how do we best determine college and career readiness and assess the quality of the education provided by our schools? The most common indicator of quality in public schools has been achievement test scores. This study examined three elementary and two high school drafts of the Kentucky educational accountability system known as the Unbridled Learning Accountability Model, which was adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the study explored the implications of each of these drafts on schools and districts throughout the commonwealth using the same student data. The analyses of these data generated hypotheses about which kinds of schools might have been negatively and positively affected by each of the five accountability models that were under consideration.