Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Bernard M. Lall

Second Advisor

William H. Green

Third Advisor

Millie U. Youngberg



The study is about the selection process used to determine exemplary Michigan public elementary schools. Do those public elementary schools selected for recognition by the Michigan Department of Education represent the highest levels of educational quality within the state?


The study was causal-comparative in design. The sample consisted of the 79 public elementary schools which applied in 1985 for recognition as a Michigan Department of Education exemplary school. Additionally, the 80 highest academic-achieving Michigan public elementary schools were identified. Multiple regression analyses were used to determine the relationships between eight sociological elements, while analysis of variance compared the perceived effectiveness between "exemplary" schools, "non-exemplary" schools, and schools which demonstrated highest pupil achievement.


1. Among eight dependent variables there is one statistically significant difference between schools recognized as exemplary, the schools not selected as exemplary, and the schools which demonstrate the highest pupil achievement.

2. Pupils in schools which demonstrate the highest achievement score significantly higher on pupil-achievement tests when compared with pupils in both exemplary and non-exemplary schools.

3. There exists no significant difference when comparing the household income, household education, and school district total per-pupil expenditure in exemplary schools, non-exemplary schools, and schools which demonstrate the highest pupil achievement.

4. Three distinct geographic areas of pupil achievement exist within Michigan.


Exemplary Michigan public elementary schools do not appear to be more organizationally effective than other schools which have applied for recognition or have been identified as top-achieving schools. Moreover, no significant relationship exists between socioeconomic factors, pupil achievement, organizational conditions, and exemplary school status.


It is recommended that the Michigan Department of Education conduct a review of the recognition program to honor both academic achievement as well as improving schools. The three geographic areas which are highest in pupil academic achievement need analysis to determine why they exist. Since the findings suggest that no significant difference exists between the schools which were studied with regard to school district per-pupil expenditures, the wealth-based formula upon which the state aid act is founded should be questioned.

Subject Area

Elementary schools--Michigan--Evaluation.


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