Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Second Advisor

Dr. Ben Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were characteristics that identify exemplary elementary schools. Selection of schools was based on standardized scores, principal tenure, parental involvement, Directors of Elementary School’s opinion, and accreditation status.

The demographic information suggested that both groups of schools were similar in composition. Developing schools demonstrated a significantly greater population of students receiving free lunch and a greater population of minority students. Each school principal and staff received two survey instruments: the Leadership Practices Inventory (Kouzes & Posner, 1992), and the School Assessment Survey (Wilson, 1985). The results were compared to determine which characteristics, or dimensions were different. A t test for independent means was computed for the majority of the dimensions. A one-way ANOVA was necessary for several dimensions, and a Kendall’s Coefficient of Concordance (W) was used to assess the dimension of goal consensus. There was support for the four hypotheses: the means of the exemplary and developing schools would be different; the exemplary schools would be identifiable as having common elements; the developing schools would be identifiable as having common elements; and the elements for both types of schools would be different.

Scores were computed for each school staff for each dimension and for all of the two types of schools for each dimension. Results indicated statistically different mean scores for the exemplary schools in seven areas. On the LPI survey the areas of challenging the process and modeling the way were significantly higher for the exemplary schools at an .05 alpha level. On the SAS survey there were five dimensions that were significantly higher for the exemplary schools. Those were: (1) goal consensus, in which case, the significance level was .001; (2) student discipline; (3) centralization of authority; (4) vertical communication; and, (5) facilitative leadership; all four significant at the .05 level.

The results closely confirm results of effective and quality schools research presented in the Chapter II literature search. A chart comparing the elements of effective schools research, quality schools research, and the results of this study are presented in the concluding chapter.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access