Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Steven R. Staples

Committee Member

Michael F. DiPaola

Committee Member

Jennifer Parish


It is the superintendent's complex role and ultimate leadership responsibility for all district outcomes that suggests superintendents hold the key to successful reform. Research in the wake of the federal accountability and reform movement has focused on the principal as the mediator of school reform. Consequently, there is a dearth of research focusing on the superintendent's role in school reform, superintendent performance evaluation, and the state's responsibility to ensure a fair, equitable, and high-quality superintendent evaluation process through state-level policy. This study is a comprehensive policy analysis of state-level superintendent evaluation policies nationwide using a basic content analysis methodology and a researcher-developed content-analysis rubric. The study investigated the impact of the accountability and reform movement on superintendent performance evaluations, identified the current status of state-level superintendent evaluation policies and policy coherence with the personnel evaluation standards developed by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (Joint Committee), and determined whether a significant relationship exists between the breadth and depth of state-level superintendent evaluation policy and a state's political culture. Results show that 34 states have superintendent evaluation policies, but states vary substantially on the depth of superintendent evaluation policies and coherence with the Joint Committee standards. More states scored higher on the utility and feasibility standards than on the propriety and accuracy standards. There was no significant relationship, however, between a state's political culture and the breadth and depth of its superintendent evaluation policy as determine by the state's total content analysis rubric score.



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