Spring 3-7-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Sarah J. Noonan

Second Advisor

Thomas L. Fish

Third Advisor

David W. Peterson


This qualitative comparative case study examined three unique elementary classroom placement processes used within the same school district to place students in next-level classroom communities. Findings revealed participants used eight different student placement factors to place students into classroom groups for the next academic year. These included: (1) reading and mathematics scores (2) gender; (3) teacher data regarding students with behavioral challenges; (4) students identified for special education services; (5) parent requests for teachers; (6) data from either teacher or family members regarding previous family or student history; (7) teacher experience, specialization and expertise; and (8) student mobility. Interviews conducted with participants confirmed the connection between principal leadership style and the procedures used to create next-level classrooms. Principals adopted different approaches to decision-making, adopting a structural, human resource, political, and/or symbolic approach (Bolman & Deal, 2008). The decision-making style and processes adopted by principals affected the heterogeneity of classroom communities with varying degrees of success. A recommendation for elementary classroom placements included the importance of continued evaluation and assessment of student placement processes and the need for professional conversations to address this complex issue. Theoretical frameworks informing this study included theories related to leadership and organizational theory and critical pedagogy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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