All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Boyd Rogan

Advisory Committee Members

Gypsy Abbott

Linda Searby

George Theodore

Foster Watkins

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The need for data-driven education and proof of accountability has become apparent since the reform movement in American education that began with A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). Accreditation identifies schools as quality institutions, yet little K-12 research is available pertaining to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In this longitudinal study, quantitative and qualitative methods were used to explore the impact of an initial SACS review on an urban, Title I middle school. The target school gained full SACS membership in May 2004. For the next three years the researcher gathered Stanford Achievement Test-10 (SAT-10) data followed by interviews with a purposeful sample of staff members regarding their perceptions of SACS accreditation. The student sample was the cohort of eighth graders who had passed from sixth to eighth grade together (n = 373), which reduced to (n = 179) students having three years of matching Total Reading, Total Mathematics, and Total Language Arts SAT-10 available in their permanent records folders. The faculty sample included teachers (n = 43) and administrators (n = 3). Independent variables used in data analysis were gender and grade, while dependent variables were SAT-10 test scores. Qualitative data was obtained from teacher and administrator interviews. iv Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to test the Null Hypotheses 1 through 3 relating to grade by gender. Although there was no interaction effect for grade and gender, findings revealed a significant gain in test scores for all three years of the study in Total Reading and Total Mathematics. Total Language Arts scores dropped slightly from sixth grade to seventh grade and then significantly rose by eighth grade. Findings indicated that teachers and administrators had mixed perceptions about the influence of SACS accreditation. The researcher concluded that the improvement in test scores after SACS accreditation could have been a result of the SACS accreditation although other factors could have affected student learning. The study provided data for strategic planning in the target school and could be continued or used as a model for replication.

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