Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Mary Langenbrunner, Terrence A. Tollefson


The purpose of this study was to determine if an association existed between student achievement scores and classroom practices used among third-grade teachers in Upper East Tennessee. The variables included classroom environment, instructional context, and social context, employing developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). Teacher characteristics, including type of degree, highest degree, years of experience, level of DAP knowledge, and degree granting institution, were analyzed for characteristics influencing developmentally appropriate practices. The instrument, Assessment of Practices in Early Elementary Classrooms (APEEC), was used to gather information; the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP/CRT) Reading/Language and Mathematics scores were used to determine student' achievement level. A demographic survey was used to collect teacher characteristic information.

An initial analysis of data incorporated simple descriptive statistics in the form of frequency tables. Independent samples t tests, analyses of variance (ANOVAs), and Pearson Product moment correlation coefficients were used to determine if there were associations in DAP levels among teacher characteristics. Finally, one-way-analysis of variance assessed the associations between the dependent variables (TCAP/CRT scores) and independent variables (environment, instruction, and social context).

The analysis of the data indicated that the majority of the third-grade teachers were certified in elementary education. Over half of the sample had master's degrees or above. Six had not taught any grades except third. The third-grade teachers had less experience in teaching kindergarten and more experience in first and second grades. An independent-samples t test indicated no significant differences in APEEC scores between teachers with early childhood degrees and teachers with other degrees; no significant differences in APEEC scores between teachers with a bachelor's degree and teachers with a master's or higher degree; and no significant differences between degree granting institutions. Correlation coefficients indicated APEEC scores were not significantly affected by teachers' years of experience. ANOVAs indicated significant differences in APEEC physical environment and social environment scores among teachers having a great deal of DAP knowledge but not in classroom instruction. ANOVAs indicated significant differences in classroom instruction and student achievement scores in Reading/Language, but not in Math. No significant differences were found in APEEC social and physical context scores.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.