Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Amy G. Froelich

Second Advisor

Gary D. Phye


According to the legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act's purpose is:;"To ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments." (20 USC s.6301, 2001);Thus, a central component of NCLB is the process of determining proficiency of students through achievement testing, and subsequently, the ability of schools to better serve their students such that all students achieve proficiency by 2013-2014.;This research study began by proposing an approach to improve the accuracy of determining proficiency for an individual student by taking advantage of a recent policy change (3rd-8th grade testing) which would allow for multiple assessments over time. Information from the previous year's testing is used as prior information in estimating the ability level of each student. Based on the combination of the previous and current year's test scores, a weighted score is found that estimates the student's ability with less error. The degree of reduction in measurement error is contingent upon the consistency of the student's true ability over time.;A new approach to estimating the proficiency rates for a school was presented that adjusted for measurement error. The classic approach determines the rate of students with scores above the cut-off (41st National Percentile Rank on Iowa Test of Basic Skills for Iowa) without regard to measurement error. Using the results of the previous study on reducing measurement error of the ability estimate, a process is used that weights each student according to his/her probability of being proficient.;The final research component includes a study of the external variables associated with school performance in the state of Iowa. For this study, a data set containing variables on 1,420 schools in Iowa was constructed. The variables within the data set include, but are not limited to: socio-economic status (eligibility for free/reduced price lunches), racial/ethnic compositions, students with disabilities, students per teacher, school proficiency rate in reading/math, teacher experience/education/salary, adults with bachelor's degrees, and single parent households with children.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Ellis Michael Ott



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

117 pages