Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jasmine R. Renner

Committee Members

Louise L. MacKay, James H. Lampley, Cecil N. Blankenship


The purpose of this quantitative study was to compare student achievement, as assessed by the ABC (Accountability, Basics, Local Control) end of grade tests, of students in different sized schools and of different socioeconomic backgrounds. The population consisted of 379 middle schools in North Carolina. Data were gathered from the 2006-2007 school year. Several t-tests for independent samples, analyses of variance, and chi square analyses were used to identify relationships between variables. The measures of growth used were the change ratio, which is used to determine high growth status and mean growth, which is used to determine expected growth or no recognition status. No recognition is the designation given to those schools that do not meet expected growth.

The study showed no significant relationship between school size and academic growth status. Similarly, there was no significant difference in the observed proportions and the hypothesized proportions of different sized schools in terms of academic growth status. There was a significant relationship between socioeconomic status and academic growth status; high socioeconomic status schools had higher change ratios and higher mean growth than did low socioeconomic status schools. The study showed a significant difference in the observed and hypothesized proportions of the growth levels; high socioeconomic status schools had more schools designated high growth than no recognition and low socioeconomic status schools had more schools designated no recognition than high growth.

The results of this study indicated that as educators in North Carolina continue to focus on achievement levels of all students, particular attention should be paid to those schools with higher percentages of students receiving free or reduced price meals. To narrow the academic gap between students in high and low socioeconomic status schools, attention should be given to the particular needs and traits of children from high poverty backgrounds. Educational practices that recognize and remove the barriers associated with those needs should be implemented. Regardless of socioeconomic status, educational methods in all schools should reflect current research of best practices for increasing all students' achievement.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.