Jun 18, 2024  
2017-18 Graduate Catalog 
2017-18 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement, Ed.D.

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Kevin Krahenbuhl, Interim Program Director
(615) 898-2995
Jennifer Hyde, Program Secretary

The Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement is a cohort-based doctoral program capitalizing on faculty expertise in the College of Education. The program provides a structured curriculum with early development and ongoing support for students as they work to complete their doctoral dissertation. The Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement is designed to

  • meet a specific need to develop the capacity of PreK-12 school leaders (including teacher-leaders and education leaders across the range of policy and non-profit agencies),
  • significantly improve student academic achievement, and
  • meet increased accountability mandates.

This degree will provide educational leaders with the knowledge and analytical skills to analyze all forms of student-learning data (formative and summative, quantitative and qualitative) in order to accurately identify areas of success as well as areas in need of specific attention to attain school improvement.

Applicants with a leadership role (including school administrator, teacher-leader, policy-maker, policy advisor, staff in philanthropic and not-for-profit agencies, higher education,and educational consulting) in PreK-12 education and a master’s degree in a variety of disciplines are eligible for admission. Typically, successful students will hold formal qualifications related to some area of PreK-12 educational practice with three or more years of professional experience in their specializations.

Please see the undergraduate catalog for undergraduate program information.

Admission Requirements

Admission is limited and will be based on a holistic review of test scores, past academic success, and potential for success in a rigorous doctoral program whose objective is the development of individuals who can effect immediate school improvement and student learning achievement. The following are minimum requirements for admission to the Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement (although meeting these criteria does not guaranteed admission to this selective program of study):

Applicants are expected to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 in master’s coursework.

Applicants are expected to have scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that indicate capacity for success in doctoral study.

Application Procedures

All application materials must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies. NOTE: The program is partnering with local school districts for off-campus cohorts. Please contact program office for current procedures pertaining to location and deadlines.

Applicant must

  1. have earned a Master’s degree from an accredited institution;
  2. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  3. submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended showing a grade point average (GPA) in previous academic work that indicates potential for success in advanced study (successful applicants will typically have a GPA in prior graduate work that exceeds 3.50);
  4. submit official scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing measures of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that indicate potential for success in the Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement doctoral program. Although specific minimum scores are not set, evaluation of scores is an important factor in admission decisions and successful applicants will typically submit scores above the 50th percentile on each measure;
  5. submit three letters of recommendation which must meet the following specific criteria.The first letter must be from an educational leader (principal, assistant principal, central office administrator, school board member) of your school or school district and should specifically address: (a) your abilities, and (b) their support for you to lead an effort to significantly improve student learning and achievement in your current position. The second letter must be from a tenure-track professor, and it should address your potential to successfully complete an academically rigorous doctoral program. The third letter may be from any educational professional (i.e.: LKPreK-12 education leader, university faculty, policy maker, governmental agency representative, non-profit or philanthropic organization leader, etc.) and should address your specific skills, attitudes, and experience(s) related to the goals of this program.
  6. submit a statement of purpose (750-1000 words) communicating your professional goals and suitability for the doctoral program in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement. In your statement you should address how your participating in this program will result in increased student learning and achievement as measured on standardized test scores for students under your educational care and authority. You may include a brief discussion of any literature (e.g. research articles, texts-please use appropriate APA citations) that has informed your professional practice or influenced you in some way;
  7. submit a current vitae including education and employment history, experience with school improvement, professional presentations and publications, awards, recognitions, etc.;
  8. participate in an interview with the Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement doctoral program admission committee as part of the admissions process.

NOTE: Accepted students will be required to attest to their commitment to the cohort and to contribute the necessary quality and quantity of time and energy to ensure the success of this community of learners as each student prepares to lead an effort to significantly improve her/his school or school district.

NOTE: International students will be required to meet MTSU’s English language proficiency requirements in addition to the program admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Assessment, Learning and School Improvement Doctoral Program requires

  1. completion of the 60-credit-hour program of study;
  2. completion of a minimum of one research-based article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed professional journal; (The research-based article and presentation must receive approval from the program director (or designee) to meet degree requirements.)
  3. completion of one research-based presentation at a regional/national educational conference; (The research-based article and presentation must receive approval from the program director (or designee) to meet degree requirements.)
  4. mastery of academic coursework (measured by course grades and successful completion of a comprehensive examination); and
  5. successful defense of a dissertation that demonstrates mastery of applied research methods in the field of education.

Curriculum: Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement

Candidate must complete a minimum of 60 hours in the following course of study:

Dissertation (12 hours)

Program Notes

Currently, the program admits students in successive cohorts. All students in the graduate program are expected to complete all coursework with their cohort as scheduled.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.


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