Date of Award

Spring 1999

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Barbara H Krysiak


From a 1983 federal study which concluded, as its title suggests, that America had become A Nation at Risk because of a failing public school system, the modern standards movement was born. This educational reform movement beginning in the 1980's and continuing through the 1990's brought about the development and establishment of many accountability and improvement initiatives aimed at public schools. Also during this time, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), through its Commission on Public Secondary Schools along with five other regional accrediting agencies across the country, was continuously engaged in the practice of evaluating and accrediting high schools. Accreditation had been the evaluation of choice for New England high schools for decades.

Because of local and state mandated accountability and improvement initiatives, along with changes in the NEASC accreditation process in the aftermath of a Nation at Risk, attitudes and perceptions of the educational community toward the accreditation process have changed over the past decade. Data for this study were gathered from a target population of sixty-six New Hampshire high schools which underwent NEASC accreditation between the years 1987--1997. This survey study sought to determine how key members of the school community, high school principals, superintendents, and school board members, perceived the impact and value of the NEASC accreditation process, particularly as it effected accountability and improvement in their schools. The study further looked at the relationship between the NEASC accreditation process and the New Hampshire state mandated District Education Improvement Plan (DEIP).