Molly McCabe


This study examined the Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) achievement trends between 2004 and 2006 of 58 California public elementary schools after exiting state monitoring and investigated practices for sustaining consistent achievement growth. Statistical methods were used to analyze statewide achievement trends in 58 former elementary state monitored schools in California. Findings indicated that 57% of schools demonstrated positive achievement growth on API over the 2 years after they exited state monitoring; however, only 44% of the schools were able to sustain 2 years of consecutive API growth. A larger percentage (72%) of schools maintained positive growth on AYP in English language arts and math (79%). In order to determine sustainability factors, four of the principals from schools with 2 years of positive API growth after exiting state monitoring were interviewed to determine their perception on factors contributing to sustained achievement growth. The interviews revealed each of the schools focused on deep implementation of the Essential Program Components (EPCs) from the Academic Program Survey (APS) with a focus on improving instructional practices. The principals also created coherent systems around a common goal, facilitated culture change, and provided regular accountability, monitoring, and feedback. The study concluded the SAIT process is a very important intervention but achievement trends varied and did not guarantee sustained achievement growth. The nine EPCs of the APS laid the foundation for sustained achievement growth; however, the EPCs must work in conjunction with strong leadership practices, strategic steps for English learners and closing the achievement gap, with a clear sustainability plan. Study outcomes recommend that external support providers engaged in school reform continue their use of the EPCs. They should assist schools with continuous refinement of the EPCs with a focus on instructional practices, capacity building, and collaboration. Providers should also develop school leadership capacity with a focus on systems thinking, monitoring and feedback, and culture change. Finally it is recommended that future school reform efforts should extend over a longer period of time and/or require schools to develop a sustainability plan. Periodic monitoring and support after exiting sanctions is also recommended.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Educational accountability -- California; Education, Elementary -- California -- Evaluation; Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;