Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Kurt F. Geisinger

Date of this Version

Fall 9-24-2020

Document Type



Usher-Tate, B. (2020). Estimating School-Level Achievement in Belize. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Psychology (Quantitative, Qualitative and Psychometric Methods), Under the Supervision of Professor Kurt F. Geisinger. Lincoln, Nebraska: September, 2020

Copyright © 2020 Betty Jean L. Usher-Tate

Data for this study were collected from educators in Belize with permission from the Government of Belize and the University of Nebraska IRB. The Belize Educator Survey was developed for the purpose of this study. Two methods for estimating School-Level Achievement were compared.


This dissertation consists of five chapters: introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and discussion with final thoughts. The research design of this dissertation study attended to structures, cultures, and characteristics associated with, and specific to, the Belize education system. The processes for data collection and types of analyses were appropriate, yielded meaningful results, and served as a segue for national application. The Belize Educator Survey was developed to capture the educators’ voices and illuminate their relationship to educational achievement in Belize. The Belize Educator Survey was piloted and revised with direct input from educators and experts who work in the Belize education system. In this dissertation study, the Belize Educator Survey was the primary data collection instrument for a district-wide, full-coverage survey approach in one of the six districts in Belize. All primary school educators in the district were invited to participate (N = 524), and the response rate was 60.11% (n = 315).

One of the end goals of this study was to create a pragmatic way of estimating School-Level Achievement that incorporated data about all grade levels and include the voice of all educators associated with the school. Two methods, the Weighted-Indicator Estimation Protocol (WISP) and a Multilevel Achievement Estimation Protocol (MAEP), were compared. The Weighted-Indicator Scores Protocol estimation uses a combination of classic statistical analyses, while the Multilevel Achievement Estimation Protocol version relies on a multilevel approach that estimates the within- and between-school statistics simultaneously. The 2018 Primary School Examinations school-level performance served as the primary criterion-referenced variable. Analyses of variances, comparisons of standard errors of the mean, and rank-order matchings show that the school-level estimates derived from the Weighted-Indicator Scores Protocol and Multilevel Achievement Estimation Protocol methods are statistically different.

Possible extensions of this study could identify or develop additional measures of academic performance that align to grade-level expectations in the Belize education system. The statistically significant negative associations between educators’ perceptions, School Size, and Location are also worthy of investigation for strategic planning purposes.

Advisor: Kurt F. Geisinger