Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Carole H. Murphy, EdD


Doug Miller, Ph.D.

Ken Owen, Ed.D.

Lloyd Richardson, Ph.D.

Thomas Schnell, Ph.D.


With the constraints under the No Child Left Behind Act, schools face the challenges of meeting extremely high standards with students. Recent research generally focuses on the role of professional development in school reform. Although a great deal has been written on the topic of professional development, the empirical literature on the topic is much less extensive. Few studies have actually documented its impact on student achievement. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of systematic professional development on selected areas of student performance in selected Missouri school buildings. This research study was quantitative in nature and geared toward aiding school districts in making well-informed decisions regarding the impact of professional development on student achievement. This study examined four reform grants that required professional development. These grants included the Reading First Grant, ?enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies? (eMINTS), Comprehensive School Reform, and High Schools That Work. The Missouri Assessment Program and the American College Test scores were examined through univariate two-way analysis of variance of the differences in schools that participated in specific reform grants and those that did not participate. Achievement data gathered from all 524 Missouri school districts included the following: Missouri Assessment Program scores in third, seventh and eleventh grades in Communication Arts; third and seventh grades in Reading Proficiency; fourth, eighth and tenth grades in Mathematics, and the American College Test composite scores. Where initial significance was not found, an analysis of variance was used to study effects for the independent variables of enrollment, free and reduced lunch percentage and per pupil expenditure. The study found a number of significant interactions. A primary finding was the strong correlation between the Reading First grant and its impact on third grade Communication Arts and Reading Proficiency MAP scores. The results of this investigation have implications for all educators and school districts involved in professional development and reform. This research could assist educators in selecting reform models that require staff development programs that impact student achievement.

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