Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Douglas R. Davis

Second Advisor

Dennis A. Bunch

Third Advisor

Denver J. Fowler

Relational Format



Abstract: the purpose of this research project was to conduct an exploratory analysis of the 2016 Mississippi Statewide Accountability System (MSAS), which is the model by which all public school in Mississippi are assessed, rated, and ranked, in an attempt to assess whether or not the system is an effective policy tool, especially in relation to the goals associated with its development and implementation. The study was conducted in three distinct sections: phase one analyzed the model itself and all associated documents, while the researcher also conducted interviews with several individuals with knowledge of the development of the system to establish the goals for implementation. Phase two was a quantitative analysis of the 2015-2016 MSAS to identify if there were any issues of construct validity revealed in the results, primarily looking at the top-15 and bottom-15 districts in the state. Phase three consisted of one-on-one interviews with community members in six school districts across Mississippi, three from the top-15 group and three from the bottom-15 group, in hopes of identifying the perception surrounding the accountability model and whether or not it had any impact on the local communities being served. While phase one revealed implementation goals centered on themes of simplification and improvement, phase two highlighted several issues of construct validity across the various components being measured, and phase three revealed stakeholder perceptions centered on themes of knowledge of the accountability system, which was extremely limited, and impact of the accountability grades on the local community, which was unanimously perceived to be a direct link. Overall, as the MSAS was developed to provide parents and community members with relatable information about the performance of their local schools and guide improvement, the results of this study appear to prove the model is an ineffective policy tool, as a lack of knowledge of the system and its intricacies is widespread and the components being measured raise several validity issues, which leave room for potential inequities in the education system, especially for areas stricken by widespread poverty. In spite of these issues with the model, community members across the state see the potential impact a school or district's accountability grade has on the local community and it is therefore necessary for the Mississippi legislature, the Mississippi department of education, educators, and community stakeholders to re-convene and further discuss the issue of accountability and how best to move the state's public education system forward to promote student achievement and community development.


Emphasis: Educational Leadership (K-12)



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