Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

William P. McCaw

Commitee Members

Kathleen Budge, Beverly Chin, John Matt, Frances O'Reilly


Boardsmanship, Governance, School Board, Self Assessment, Student Achievement, Trustee


University of Montana


This non-experimental quantitative study examined the relationship between school board governance behavior (i.e. boardsmanship) and student achievement scores. Pearson's r correlation was utilized to examine the relationship. Boardsmanship was defined by scores on the Board Self-Assessment Survey (BSAS) © designed by, and used with permission from, the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA). The BSAS consisted of a 69 item survey organized around 5 board Standards, 22 Benchmarks, and 69 Key Indicators (i.e. survey items). Board members from all 121 high school districts in Montana were invited to participate in the online survey. Seventy-four board members from 27 school districts returned complete and useable surveys for a response rate of 22.3% (27/121). Student achievement was defined by scores in reading, math, and science assessed by Montana's Criterion Reference Test (CRT) given to all 10th graders. CRT scores were obtained from the Office of Public Instruction in Helena, MT. Data from both the BSAS and CRT were collected during the spring of AY 2011-2012. Statistically significant relationships were found between several aspects of student achievement and numerous elements of boardsmanship. Student achievement significantly correlated with some aspect of all five board Standards such as (a) providing responsible school district governance, (b) setting and communicating high expectations for student learning with clear goals and plans for meeting those expectations, (c) creating the conditions district wide for student and staff success, (d) holding the school district accountable for meeting student learning expectations, and (e) engaging the community. School boards that accomplish the items identified in the BSAS govern districts with the highest achievement scores. Each of these board Standards were further explicated through the Benchmarks and statistically significant Key Indicators which describe specific actions the board could take in order to participate in district efforts to raise student achievement. Boards do play a role in student achievement and their actions matter.



© Copyright 2013 Ivan J. Lorentzen