Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Pamela Evanshen, Terrence A. Tollefson


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between and among various demographic and test score data with American College Testing (ACT) scores in 281 Tennessee high schools. This study also addressed which high school characteristics were related to the number of students meeting the ACT requirement for Tennessee lottery scholarships. In addition, this study examined Tennessee Value Added Assessment System's (TVAAS) assessment of ACT scores and its distribution of grades to Tennessee's high schools based upon its Value-Added analysis.

The researcher performed correlations and multivariable linear regressions using socioeconomic status, ethnicity, dropout rate, graduation rate, attendance, average daily membership, per-pupil expenditure, teacher salary, Gateway exams, English I scores, and math foundations scores as independent variables and ACT scores as the dependent variable. The strengths of the correlations were examined and the best combination of independent variables was used to predict future ACT scores. Schools were divided into quartiles, based upon average daily membership and attendance rates, in order to analyze the differences in r2 values among the quartiles when running regressions to predict ACT scores. Quartiles, based upon the percentage of students qualifying for free/reduced meals, ethnicity, and average daily membership were used to study the difference in TVAAS' grade distribution based upon its assessment of ACT scores.

The findings indicated that English I and II scores are most strongly associated with ACT composite scores including the four ACT subtests: math, English, reading, and science. English scores were found to be more strongly associated with ACT math scores than Algebra I scores and more strongly associated with ACT science scores than biology scores. It was found that the 21 composite ACT score requirements of Tennessee's lottery scholarships predominantly favored Caucasian students who did not qualify for free/reduced-priced meals. It was also discovered that TVAAS' ACT grades were unevenly distributed when schools were divided into quartiles based upon the percentage of students qualifying for free/reduced-priced meals, ethnicity, and average daily membership. Only one school in the quartile containing the schools with the highest percentage of students qualifying for free/reduced-priced meals scored above the state's average gain in the reading section of the ACT test.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.