Culminating Project Title
Grade Level Reconfiguration at the Elementary Level: A Case Study of Select Elementary School Principals’ Reports on Educational Policy when Choosing to Reconfigure Grade Span and the Impact on Student Success
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Dr. John Eller
Dr. Amy Christensen
Dr. James Johnson
Dr. Laurie Putnam
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
: reconfiguration, grade spans, elementary, principal, policy, accountability
The standards movement and subsequent accountability measures invoked by federal mandate has influenced elementary schools in multiple ways. As school principals navigate initiatives to impact student success, limited research has been carried out on the role of school configuration on elementary students’ academic success (Coladarci & Hancock, 2002; Dove et al., 2010; Franklin & Glascock, 1996; Howley, 2002; Paglin & Fager, 1997; Renchler, 2002; Seller, 2004; Wren, 2003). This study examines the relationship between educational policy, accountability measures, and grade span reconfiguration at the elementary level.
Through a structured interviews with six Minnesota school principals who had experienced reconfiguration of grade spans at their elementary schools between 2015 to 2019, the study identifies what select elementary principals report are the effects of accountability measures on decision-making in reconfiguring schools, the subsequent effect reconfiguration had on student success, and how geographic classification of the school community is related to reconfiguring schools.
The finding from this study suggests education policy can affect elementary school principal's decision to reconfigure schools. The majority of current literature concludes broader grade spans at the elementary level has a positive impact on elementary students’ success (Alspaugh & Harting, 1995; Howley, 2002; Johnson et al., 2016; Renchler, 2000; Wihry et al., 1992; Wren, 2003). The findings from this study support the opposite conclusion as participants reported more advantages to narrower grade span configurations.
Key words: reconfiguration, grade spans, elementary, principal, policy, accountability
E Rivard, Michael, "Grade Level Reconfiguration at the Elementary Level: A Case Study of Select Elementary School Principals’ Reports on Educational Policy when Choosing to Reconfigure Grade Span and the Impact on Student Success" (2021). Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 87.