Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Conner

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid


This study examined Missouri’s A+ Schools Program and its impact on school improvement. Effective schools research combined with the mission learning for all provided a conceptual foundation for guiding research development. A mixed-method design allowing a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data was applied using telephone interviews and Likert-scale surveys from A+ Coordinators having two or more years’ experience. Questions about the A+ Schools Program’s success centered on the following: graduation rate, curriculum and assessment, career preparation, rigorous coursework, and at-risk students. As a result, four themes emerged; the first of two were students realizing the importance to graduate and enhanced at-risk programs. Both A+ Coordinators interviewed and those surveyed concluded, the program forced districts to develop methods for increasing graduation rates as well as tracking and maintaining at-risk students. However, the third theme revealed while curriculum and assessment changes were implemented, the changes may not be attributed to the A+ Schools Program. A fourth theme discovered the A+ Schools Program prepared students for college and career paths by counseling them to enroll in appropriate rigorous coursework. A+ Coordinators perceived positive transformations in their districts to be a direct result of the A+ Schools Program. Districts seeking an A+ designation must continue adhering to a strict effective schools model, and the implication for practice is Missouri legislators must maintain funding in the A+ Schools Program with additional schools being designated.


Copyright 2012