Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.

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Open Access Dissertation


United States. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; School principals--Attitudes; Schools--Iowa--Evaluation;


The purpose of conducting this study was to describe and analyze how NCLB has influenced school leaders in school buildings designated in need of assistance (SINA) and to the sanctions that accompany that label. Included in this study is the examination of the principal-agent interactions proposed in agency theory through the relationship of Iowa school leadership and the Iowa Department of Education.

From the 11 school buildings presently designated schools in need of assistance according to the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 2001 or No Child Left Behind, the school leadership of two school buildings participated in a case study over a period of six months. The findings included congruence of interests between the student achievement requirements of NCLB and the administrator’s interests. A clear hierarchical structure that controls the flow of information was evidenced. Information asymmetry did exist with the administrators having an informational advantage. Control and monitoring of results was necessary to assure that the agent was working on behalf of the principal. The leadership style was more assertive. Accessing the authority granted through the legislation limited the leadership’s autonomy. The authority granted the leadership provided the administrators an opportunity to make necessary changes. Findings from this study should be of interest to K-12 administrators, teachers, school board members, and other policy influential throughout the state and nation as it reveals the perceptions of the school leaders who implement federal mandates. It should be of particular interest to legislators in considering the design and implementation of current and future educational policy with school leadership in mind.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2006 Award

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Susan Etscheidt, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 215 pages)



File Format