Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was to identify information to assist school district administrators in the development of a systems approach to the automation of district-level management. Research data included initial and current computer system(s), level of training, implementation procedures, problems encountered, information sources, future plans for upgrading, and general recommendations.

State education department personnel from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota were contacted to identify seven school districts that used computers for administration in each of four student enrollment categories. The study was limited to districts which used IBM or Apple microcomputers and/or any brand of larger computer system. A questionnaire was sent to each district contact person identified.

Some of the most important findings were: 1. With one exception, all districts with less than 1,499 students used only microcomputers or time-share systems. 2. Consultants from outside the district were not often used. These consultants primarily assisted with staff training, recommended hardware/software, helped identify district needs, and/or determined initial district computer functions. 3. The greatest number of physical office changes involved electrical, furniture, and telephone line improvements followed by data storage changes, air conditioner installation, and structural alterations. 4. Major start-up problems were software complexities, lack of training, staff resistance, and hardware malfunctions. 5. Major start-up recommendations involved importance of staff training, staff commitment, and good planning. 6. Apple was the most frequently used brand of microcomputer, but there was an increasing number of IBM microcomputers. Other popular equipment included Burroughs and IBM minicomputers and mainframe computers; Okidata, Epson, and Apple printers; Corvus hard disks for microcomputers; and Hayes micromodems. 7. The most popular software packages for the Apple computer were Appleworks, VisiCalc, and PFS File and for the IBM were Lotus 1-2-3 and Negotia Pak. 8. Respondents believed that microcomputers could manage files for approximately 1,500 students. This figure would vary with the types of data being processed and the types of peripherals used.

The data were used to develop a computer systems profile for each of the four enrollment categories.