Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 7-31-2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

John Mendes, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Alicia Holland, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Caryn McCrohon, Ed.D.


systems thinking, AdvancED, School Improvement Process, Education YES!, Top-to-Bottom list, School Systems Review, Interim Self-Assessment, MI School Data, quantitative causal comparative design


The author of this correlational study examined the differences in academic achievement and school improvement between Michigan schools accredited by AdvancED, which uses a systemic process approach for school improvement, and schools accredited by the Michigan Department of Education, which does not use a systemic process approach. The data for the study was a random sampling of Education YES! self-reports, fed by the School Systems Review (SSR) completed by Michigan-accredited schools and the Interim Self-Assessment (ISA) completed by AdvancED-accredited schools. Schools that follow a systemic process were more likely to be successful than schools that do not. In addition to the SSR and ISA, the author examined the statewide Top-to-Bottom list for comparison. Supplemental tools, the School Lookup tool and the MI School Data portal, provided triangulated data to support the advantages of using a systems approach. The researcher used a comparative quantitative quasi-experimental methodology, which, to date, had not been used to determine the success of AdvancED-accredited schools in Michigan. The findings provide support for the principal arguments addressed in the research that AdvancED-accredited schools score higher in improvement than schools that do not implement systemic reforms.