Timothy Smith

Date of Award

Spring 2015




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


This researcher uncovered the fact that most state departments of education in the United States do not track or focus on professional development for school leaders on the issue of school climate. However, the state of Georgia has made substantial efforts in bringing the importance of school climate into the assessment of schools. The purpose of this study was to determine whether Georgia’s School Climate Star Rating (SCSR) had an effect on its Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in Reading and Math achievement. Additionally, the researcher sought to determine the effect of Title I/non-Title I status, SCSRs, and the interaction between the two on CRCT Reading and Math achievement. The selected population contained students in 3rd through 8th grade. Schools were placed into one of three different SCSR groups depending on their rating. Collected data were compiled from 43 schools, 31 elementary and 12 middle—all from the same school district. The data included SCSR scores, CRCT Reading and Math mean scores, number of participants, and Title I/non-Title I status. The researcher found that a statistically significant amount of the variance in Reading and Math achievement is attributed to the SCSR. The difference in the Title I/non-Title I groups across combined Reading and Math variables and the interaction between the Title I/non-Title I groups and Reading and Math achievement was statistically significant. The findings of this study as well as the review of related literature underscored the importance of either beginning or continuing to develop a focus on the climate of schools was underscored by the findings of the researcher as well as the review of related literature.