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Assessment, Learning, and Student Success: School Improvement Concentration, Ed.D.

MTSU’s doctorate in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success became a reality after more than 40 years of working for a program that focuses on improving K-12 teaching and learning. This unique program is designed to meet a specific need to develop capabilities of existing school leaders, in formal and informal leadership roles.

The program offers research-based knowledge, analytical skills, and practical application to enhance student learning, increase assessment scores, and improve schools. This is not a program you learn about now and do some day; in the ALSS program’s K-12 concentration you will integrate your learning directly into your setting in a job-embedded professional development approach. 

Educators who want to make an immediate difference in the lives of K-12 students are attracted to the program and the opportunity to participate in projects that result in direct improvements. The cohort-based doctoral program provides a structured curriculum that considers that most students are employed during their studies. Participants benefit from the support and collegiality of their cohorts.

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What We're Doing

Lando Carter

Program grads become true change agents

“The ALSI program has been transformative for me, both professionally and personally,” says Lando Carter, a member of the first Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement cohort, graduating in August 2016. “This program is unique because the instructors purposefully fuse assessment, learning, and school improvement to help school leaders of all backgrounds become true change agents, ones who seek substantive and lasting change in their classrooms, schools, or districts.” Carter, who teaches high school English in Rutherford County, says the cohort model creates a meaningful family atmosphere during the three years of coursework. “Now I’m watching the program work in my classroom and my school on a daily basis,” says Carter, who built on an ALSI project to start a popular writing lab at Central Magnet School, modeled after MTSU’s Writing Center. He says “the program works because I’ve been given the tools and the training to consistently move from theory to practice. I am indebted to the expert faculty not only for building such an innovative program but also for the guidance they provided during and after my time as an ALSI student.”

Tracy Hollinger

Explore new ways to impact instruction and learning

Tracy Hollinger was in her fourth year as principal of Northeast Middle School when she decided she could balance the time, commitment, and workload of her demanding job and the stress of pursuing a doctorate. “I was leading others, but I was certainly feeling the need to challenge myself and grow in my own knowledge and skills as an instructional leader,” she recalls. When she looked at doctoral programs, she discovered that MTSU had a new program in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement. “Having received my bachelor’s degree at MTSU, I knew firsthand the quality of the education programs. The ALSI program was exactly what I was looking for—designed from current research, focused on job-embedded application, and with a distinct focus on student learning and school improvement.” Hollinger says the program impacted her daily work “in profound ways,’ such as the utilization of new resources and processes for examining progress, needs, and strengths in developing a school improvement plan. “I highly recommend this program for those interested in expanding their knowledge and skills, examining current educational research, and exploring new ways to impact instruction and learning in all levels and roles,” she concludes.

Related Media

  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies


The Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success is designed to meet a specific need to develop the capacity of existing Pre-K–12 school leaders (including teacher-leaders) and those in education-related careers to significantly improve student academic achievement and to meet increased accountability mandates.

Program graduates may also find work in:

  • Higher education
  • Research
  • Educational policy
  • Governmental agencies
  • Not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations
  • Professional development consulting, which will also contribute to improved student and school achievement.

Because this degree program is new, employer information is still being compiled.

The College of Education began offering the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success in 2013. Following are a few key points to help answer initial questions.

  1. The program is a cohort-based program comprising 60 graduate credit hours.
  2. The program is partnering with districts to offer cohorts based out of their districts to meet practitioners where they are and ground learning in real context.
  3. This doctoral program requires the physical presence of all cohort members for all class sessions. The Ed.D. is not an online doctoral degree program.
  4. All applicants must have successfully completed an earned master's degree from an accredited institution prior to admission.
  5. The program will admit applicants based on a competitive process including but not limited to a professional portfolio, an onsite personal interview, and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

The program will take advantage of the latest technology to enhance the learning opportunities for all of the learners in the program. We will engage as a cohort of faculty and learners to model the development and growth of an authentic learning community.  Completion of the degree requires successfully completing all courses as prescribed in the program course of study, conducting original research, and successfully completing a doctoral dissertation, among other graduation requirements.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right. 

Our adjunct faculty bring outstanding professional experience to our programs. Many are industry leaders with decorated careers and honors. Importantly, they are innovative educators who offer hands-on learning to our students to prepare them to enter and thrive in a dynamic, and oftentimes emerging, industry and professional world. They inspire, instruct, and challenge our students toward academic and professional success.

Online or Hybrid Programs at a Glance

This program is available .

For More Information or Explore Your Options​

Contact your department / program coordinator or advisor for more details about the program. OR Work one-on-one with your advisor to explore your options.

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The Online Advantage​

With over 25 years of experience in online teaching and learning, MTSU Online offers students access to innovative, high-quality programs. Designed with students in mind, our courses allow maximum flexibility for those unable to participate in person. ​

Resources and services for online students are available from MTSU Online or contact us at

Contact Information

Kevin Krahenbuhl, ALSS Program Director

Who is My Advisor?

Kevin Krahenbuhl, ALSS Program Director

Mailing Address

1301 E Main Street 
Box 91 
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37132

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