Date of Award

January 2016

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

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Robert Biggin

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


In the United States of America, several states passed legislation that enacted a grading system by which schools are measured for their performance through a formalized ranking system, which deem schools a success or failure. These accountability systems are developed by legislators and policymakers in order to fulfill federal requirements like the No Child Left Behind Act (No Child Left Behind [NCLB], 2002) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), to encourage systemic improvement across states. In reporting annual school performance for the state of Utah, for example, it is necessary to investigate to what extent student and school characteristics predict school accountability grades within their state’s educational accountability system. This study utilized school-level data to assess the effect of school predictors on low SES, English Language Learners, students with a disability, and racial minorities on school accountability grades. The school characteristics that were evaluated included teachers with a graduate degree and rural locations. Prior research focused primarily on individual predictors of variance on student achievement, while this study combines all of the predictors for observation on predictors of variance.