Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Member

Dr. Russ Marion, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Knoeppel

Committee Member

Dr. Hans Klar

Committee Member

Dr. Tom Zagenczyk


The purpose of the study was to explore network dynamics within a rural middle school and identify to what extent middle school faculty engagement in network dynamics affects student test scores. Specifically, within the study, I examined the effects of network relationships (i.e., trust and social ties), content exchange (i.e., advice ties), and student context on students’ Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores for Fall, Spring, and Growth. A survey was sent to 75 faculty and staff members in a rural middle school of 740 students. Network analysis by means of the ORA software toolkit, along with hierarchical linear modeling, were used for data analysis. I found that teachers’ trust, social, and advice ties were significant predictors of student achievement on MAP math, MAP reading, and MAP language test scores. Student context impacted student performance and was controlled for subsequent steps in the analysis. In the faculty level analysis, I found trust and social ties to be significant predictors of student performance in the Fall; social and advice ties significant predictors of student performance in the Spring; and trust and advice ties significant predictors of Growth. The study identifies the specific trust, social, and advice ties that affect students’ MAP test scores. Implications for practice and research are discussed.



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