AASA Study: Half of Superintendents Hold Doctoral Degrees

AASA Study: Half of Superintendents Hold Doctoral Degrees

Slightly more than 50 percent of the nation’s superintendents have earned a doctoral degree, according to the latest AASA study of the American school superintendency. This represents almost 5 percent growth over AASA’s 2000 national survey.

However, the completion of a doctorate ranges dramatically by size of school district. Only 28 percent of superintendents in the smallest school districts (those with fewer than 1,000 students) reported they held doctoral degrees compared with 97 percent of superintendents whose districts enroll between 5,000 and 25,000 students. In the largest enrollment category (25,000 or more students), 80 percent of the superintendents said they had completed an Ed.D. or Ph.D.

Of those holding a doctorate, the vast majority of superintendents (44 percent) do so in the fields of educational leadership or educational administration. Another 3 percent hold their doctorates in curriculum and instruction and 0.5 percent in special education.

The 2006 superintendent study, like many of the previous AASA surveys, showed a majority believe their doctoral programs were useful — 27 percent rated their doctoral studies as highly effective and another 30 percent called them effective.

AASA’s latest study of the American school superintendency was written by Thomas E. Glass, a professor in the department of leadership, and Louis A. Franceschini, senior research consultant with the Center for Research in Educational Policy, both at the University of Memphis. The study is based on a nationwide sample of 1,338 practicing superintendents who responded to a detailed questionnaire.

AASA’s previous studies were issued in 1923, 1933, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1982, 1992 and 2000.

Limited excerpts from the report will be available in September on the AASA website. Full copies can be pre-ordered from RowmanEducation.