Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Jasmine R. Renner, Harold Lee Daniels


The purpose of this study was to examine the variables that are associated with the percentage of students who pass Tennessee's Gateway exams in high school. Associations were examined between the Gateway exams and variables such as: socioeconomic status, ethnicity, dropout rate, graduation rate, attendance, average daily membership, per-pupil expenditure, teachers' salary, and elementary-school reading scores.

Pearson correlations between school characteristics and pass rates of three Gateway exams were calculated. Schools were divided into quartiles based upon socioeconomic status and ethnicity in order to examine pass rates of the Gateway exams among different quartiles. Independent samples t tests were performed to determine if differences were statistically significant. Variables that exhibited strong association with pass rates of Gateway exams were used as predictor variables and pass rates of Gateway exams were used as dependent variables in multivariable linear regressions.

The findings indicated that the graduation rate and percentage of Caucasian students were most positively associated with Gateway pass rates. Dropout rates and percentage of students who qualified for free/reduced-priced meals were most negatively associated with Gateway pass rates. It was discovered that the Algebra I Gateway exam was by far the most difficult for students to pass. Almost half of the students in high schools serving poor, minority students failed the Algebra I Gateway exam in 2004.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.