Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mack C. Shelley

Second Advisor

Ana-Paula Correia


In an effort to understand how school boards in America's K-12 school system function, a research collaboration was undertaken among four agencies: the National School Boards Association, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Iowa Association of School Boards, and the Wallace Foundation. These groups joined effort to conduct research on school boards. As a result, a National Survey of School Board Members was conducted in 2009. The focus was on understanding the critical role of school board members as participants on the governance

bodies of public school systems and their attitudes on issues related to student achievement. This study provides a basic overview of item response theory (IRT) analysis for assessing a latent factor structure. The objective was to evaluate an underlying variable related to an issue in a national survey of school boards. We analyzed one question from the survey to gain an understanding of the attitudes of K-12 school board members towards factors related to students' learning achievement. Utilizing a graded response model in IRT we estimated the underlying variable, attitude1, of the respondents based on their patterns of responses. Discussion includes methodology of IRT, analysis findings, and implications of IRT for educational research.


Copyright Owner

Dai-Trang Le



File Format


File Size

199 pages