Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Patti L. Chance

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to increase the knowledge about science teachers' and principals' perceptions regarding science standards-based reform efforts in Nevada. The intent of the Nevada Education Reform Act (NERA) was to improve teaching and learning by impacting the following categories: (a) instruction, (b) assessment, (c) accountability, (d) professional development, (e) curriculum, and (f) supervision. The study investigated science teachers' and principals' perceptions of how standards impacted these areas as well as the role of instructional leadership in the implementation of standards-based reform. Finally, the study investigated how perceptions differed based on school size; This study employed what Creswell (1994) called a dominant-less dominant design (p.177). In this study both quantitative and qualitative methods were used via a questionnaire and interview. The population for this study was all Nevada public high school (grades 9--12) science teachers and principals. These participants were both men and women who are currently employed in a Nevada public school. Using the Nevada State Department of Education (Nevada Department of Education, 2000), the population consisted of 425 science teachers and 130 principals, representing 65 public secondary high schools. From this population, 195 science teachers and 56 principals responded; This study found principals and science teachers' perceptions significantly differed regarding the impact of Nevada science standards on (a) instruction, (b) assessment, (c) accountability, (d) professional development, (e) curriculum, and (f) supervision. This suggested that principals and science teachers operate from different frames of reference within a school. In addition, the study found that state-mandated accountability measures curtail innovative teaching practices and hamper real instructional change. These accountability mandates have placed undue emphasis on compliance with bureaucratic rules and regulations rather than changing and improving instructional practices within the classroom. As indicated by questionnaire and interview data, principals perceived themselves as instructional leaders, but practice these behaviors in a piecemeal or a "to do" list rather than approaching instructional leadership in a holistic way. Furthermore, the study found that perceptions differed based on school size. This supported Wright's (1991) notion that instructional leadership is complex and fragmented, especially at large schools.


Based; Instructional; Instructional Leadership; Leadership; Nevada Education Reform Act; Perceptions; Reform; Role; Science; Standards; Standards-based Reform

Controlled Subject

School management and organization; Education, Secondary

File Format


File Size

4003.84 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have the full text removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.


IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit