Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James Lampley

Committee Members

Cecil Blankenship, William Flora, Pamela Scott


The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2013), No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Race to the Top initiative of 2009 has placed a greater emphasis on high stakes testing. A renewed emphasis on math education for all students and their ability to succeed in high school mathematics place new challenges on today’s classroom teachers. Although the belief is that with new standards and best teaching strategies students will improve their test scores, there are multiple factors that can serve as deterrents to the success in mathematics for at-risk high school students (Balfanz, 2009). The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship of at-risk indicators attendance, family composition, socioeconomic status (as measured by free and reduced priced meals), grade retention, special education status, number of discipline referrals, students who are English language learners (ELL), and gender with student performance in high school mathematics. Using archived data from the student management system of a rural county school in Northeast Tennessee, data were gathered for 412 high school freshmen attending the county’s 4 high schools. There were 8 research questions with corresponding null hypotheses. Each research question was analyzed with a series of independent t-tests or Pearson correlation coefficient tests. All data were analyzed at the .05 level of significance. Findings from the data indicated a significant difference in the mean scores on the algebra I end of course (EOC) assessment with 5 at-risk factors. Mean scores for students from two-parent families were higher than students from single-parent families. Mean scores for students not from low socioeconomic status were higher than students from low socioeconomic status. Mean scores for students that had not been retained where higher than students that had been retained. Mean scores for students that did not receive special education services were higher than students that did receive special education services. Mean scores for female students were higher than male students. Findings for the data also indicated negative relationships between the students’ score on the end of course assessment and the number of days absent from school and the number of discipline referrals received.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.