Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

8-2015

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Eric Glover

Committee Members

Donald Good, Kimberly Hale, Pamela Scott

Abstract

Federal legislation known as the No Child Left Behind act has required states to close achievement gaps. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between special education spending by districts in the state of Tennessee and standardized achievement for students with disabilities.

Secondary data were obtained from the Tennessee Department of Education’s website (www.tn.gov/education). Data from each local education association were collected for the years of 2010-2014 in the areas of special education spending, special education population, and TCAP proficiency percentages in reading and math grades 3-8. Data from each local education association were collected for the years of 2011-2014 for gap size percentages between students with and without disabilities for reading and math grades 3-8 and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

The researcher performed 6 Pearson correlation coefficient tests for this analysis. The findings showed a positive correlation between spending and performance on standardized assessments in the areas of reading and mathematics for students with disabilities. The analysis indicated that per pupil expenditures in special education has not had a statistically significant impact on reducing the gap size between students with and without disabilities. However, the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a local education association inversely impacted the gap size. Those local education agencies with a higher population of economically disadvantaged students were more likely to have smaller gap sizes between students with and without disabilities in reading and mathematics on standardized testing.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.