Title page for ETD etd-05092008-162744

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Eppard, Lawrence Michael
URN etd-05092008-162744
Title "A District-Level Analysis of the Influence of Socioeconomic Status, Per-Pupil Funding, and Student-to-Teacher Ratio on Academic Performance in Virginia Public Schools."
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kershaw, Terry Committee Chair
Fuller, Theodore D. Committee Member
Graves, Ellington T. Committee Member
  • Sociology of Education
  • Academic Performance
  • SES
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Per-Pupil Funding
Date of Defense 2008-04-29
Availability unrestricted
It is imperative to identify the structural characteristics that influence academic performance so that we are aware of the impact that policy change has on the educational outcomes of our youth. This study used district-level regression analysis to identify the influence of socioeconomic status, per-pupil funding, and student-to-teacher ratio on the academic performance of students in Virginia’s public schools. The data set was created by linking data from the U.S. Census and the Virginia Superintendent’s Report. Four assumptions were tested: as median income increases (socioeconomic status), academic performance improves; as per-pupil funding increases, academic performance improves; increases in student-to-teacher ratios lead to poorer academic performance; and when socioeconomic status is controlled, the influence of race upon academic performance is greatly diminished. Previous literature suggests: that a positive correlation exists between socioeconomic status and academic performance; that a negative correlation exists between student-to-teacher ratio and academic performance; that results are mixed regarding the correlation between per-pupil funding and academic performance; and that residual racial effects persist despite the control of socioeconomic status. The regression analysis yielded significant results concerning the socioeconomic status and race variables, results that are presented and discussed in this paper.
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