Dr. Darron Arlt
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|Title||The Differences Between Superintendent Tenure and Student Achievement in Nebraska as Measured by 2015 Nesa-Reading Scores
|School||The University of South Dakota
|Adviser||De Jong, David
|Abstract||Student achievement has taken on an increased significance in recent decades. Recognizing the vital importance of an educated populace in a democratic society, the federal government has justified its essential takeover of public school accountability with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. This was not just a simple reauthorization of a law already on the books, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, it was an unmistakable message of being serious about holding schools accountable for the education of ALL students and if you underperform, you will be punished. My query and the impetus of this study was, “Does the superintendent play a direct role in student achievement? Does the superintendent matter when considering the variables that affect student achievement?”
The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an observable difference in student achievement in Nebraska school districts on the NeSA-Reading assessment regarding tenure, gender, and education level of the superintendent. Those variables included personal characteristics such as gender and education-level, in addition to human behavior and length of tenure. Normed Nebraska criterion-referenced reading assessment scale scores from 2010 and 2015 were analyzed. These scores were cross-referenced among districts based on the above-mentioned variables of the superintendent. Essentially, this study explored differences, and strength of any difference, between student performance based on superintendent characteristics and length of tenure.
The findings of this study proved to be inconclusive of any statistically significant difference examined in each research question. This researcher is not able to determine that the superintendent, whether by length of tenure in a district or by personal characteristic of gender or education level, makes any difference in the achievement of students on the Nebraska State Assessment reading test. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher cannot declare that the superintendent has significant statistical influence on student achievement simply based on the variables of length of service to the district, their gender, or their education level.