Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Mary Renck Jalongo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beatrice S. Fennimore, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Laurie Nicholson, D.Ed.


Research indicates that academic achievement is still a major concern for the United States and that most past educational reform efforts to improve student achievement have not produced the intended results (Elmore, 2005; McNeil, 2000; Ravitch, 1983; Sarason, 1990; Tyack & Cuban, 1995). The NCLB Act of 2001, with increased federal government involvement in education and accountability measures for states, is the latest reauthorization of a long standing federal reform effort designed to eliminate the achievement gap (CEP, 2007; Meier & Wood, 2004; Murnane, 2007; NASBE, 2002). As a result, states are faced with improving student achievement for all student groups and, to do so, have implemented various intervention strategies to improve teaching and learning in low-performing schools (Gambino, 2007; Malen & Rice, 2004; Vernez, Koram, Mariano, & DeMartini, 2006). The purpose of this case study was to explore the effectiveness, in two initially low-performing urban schools, of a state collaborative intervention strategy to increase student achievement. The Collaborative Assessment and Planning for Achievement (CAPA) initiative, was developed by the New Jersey Department of Education to provide technical assistance to Title I schools which have not achieved state accountability benchmarks as mandated by NCLB. This study examined the process for selecting the intervention strategies to address the collaborative team’s recommendations for improvement in academic performance, the preparedness of teachers and administrators to implement the recommended intervention strategies and student achievement gains in two initially low-performing schools. To gain a comprehensive picture of this complex phenomenon, a mixedmethod approach was used incorporating principal interviews and student achievement data. The use of a multiple case study design added depth to the findings. Data gleaned from this mixed-method case study demonstrated that in these two initially low-performing schools, a state collaborative intervention strategy stimulated the synergistic advancement of instructional leadership, teacher expertise, teacher knowledge and collaboration to a level which enabled their schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress.