Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Mary Lynne Derrington

Committee Members

Stergios G. Botzakis, Terry Ishitani, Dorian McCoy


Porumbu (2015) proposed that belief systems are important because they influence behavior. For example, a principal's belief system could determine how teaching strategies are monitored, how support for struggling students are accessed, and how alternative support and interventions for those students are implemented. As part of cultural capital, both acknowledging and valuing others' knowledge and skills reflect an asset perspective (Fox, 2016); in contrast is the deficit perspective. Massey, Charles, Lundy, and Fischer (2003) found that the deficit perspective is often found in education systems’ explanation of poor performance.The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore principals' responses regarding the TNReady assessment, which was implemented in Tennessee in 2015 and requires students to apply reading skills to complex text. The responses of Tennessee principals in high and low SES public schools (grades 3-8) were compared to determine if statistically significant differences existed regarding the following: (a) needs for support to successfully implement TNReady, (b) challenges to implementing TNReady standards, and (c) the belief that those standards can lead to improved student learning and preparation for post-secondary education and/or the workforce.Of the 1360 emailed surveys sent through the Qualtrics program, 192 were completed, responses were analyzed using a t-test. This study’s results supported the social and cultural reproduction framework in the following ways: (a) Principals in low SES schools did not recognize the need for differential principal support in implementing TNReady standards yet they reported different challenges to implementing the standards than principals in high SES schools did. (b) One concern among principals of high SES schools was that parents need training in TNReady practices to provide homework support; however, principals in low SES schools did not express that concern. (c) When comparing responses to the statement, "TNReady standards are too rigorous for the students at my school," 33% of the principals in high SES schools strongly disagreed; however, 23% of the principals in low SES schools somewhat agreed. (d) Principals in high SES schools indicated that TNReady standards do not include important concepts students should learn; however, principals in low SES schools did not express that concern.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."