Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carla Sparks

Second Advisor

Dr. Stefanie Shames


In 2017, reporters of national data in regard to reading ability among American, fourth grade students indicated low proficiency and achievement gaps. These results were also consistent within the state and district under study. There is a need to increase the focus on prekindergarten and primary grade education taking place prior to the grades in which federally mandated, accountability assessments for student learning take place. The purpose of this study is to determine the potential barriers to a paradigm shift at the state and district levels from a focus on state-assessed grade levels to prekindergarten and primary grade levels. The context of this study is a large public school district, the state in which it is located, and the federal education law under which both entities operate. My study demonstrates the gap in priorities between the state and local education leaders in regard to which grade levels should receive the majority of focus on an elementary school campus. I suggest the addition of quality measures for public prekindergarten and primary grade classrooms in order to improve professional development efforts and increase administrative focus.