Date of Award

Spring 4-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. John Long

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Winslow


With an increased focus on global competition, many educators and policymakers relied on international assessments such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to evaluate the ability of their education system to prepare students for the global economy. Students in the United States continued to demonstrate disappointing results on the PISA, which led to an outcry by American educators and policymakers and a call for reform. To lessen the achievement gap between the United States and other countries, experts suggested the importance of identifying the characteristics of high performing countries and adapting effective policies to fit the needs of the United States. The current study sought to provide a research-based foundation for school reform in the United States by initially seeking relationships between research-based factors of school working conditions and learning environments (initial teacher education and professional development; teacher appraisal and feedback; school climate; school leadership; and teachers’ instructional beliefs and pedagogical practices) from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and student achievement. Then, where relationships occurred, the researcher ascertained the extent of differences within those factors between the United States and the top five, middle five, and lowest five performing countries that participated in both the 2012 PISA and 2013 TALIS. The analysis of the data revealed several relationships among factors of school working conditions and learning environments and student achievement. The results also indicated several differences within these factors between the United States and the selected countries. Based on these results the researcher offered several recommendations iv to educators and policymakers in the United States, such as providing teachers with the time and skill to offer each other meaningful feedback, completing further research on the efficacy of utilizing student performance data in evaluation frameworks, allowing teachers more meaningful opportunities to reflect and collaborate in order to foster common beliefs about teaching and learning, and providing additional training to teachers in the United States on the appropriate and effective use of assessment strategies.


Copyright 2016