Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Zach Kelehear

Abstract

This study included a comparison of the graduation rates among high schools in South Carolina closely analyzing school size and socioeconomic status. The purpose for the study was to answer two questions: What patterns and relationships exist between school size and graduation rates at high schools in South Carolina? What patterns and relationships exist between socioeconomic status and graduation rates at high schools in South Carolina? The study further analyzed the impact on graduation rates when the variables of school size and socioeconomic status were combined.

A quantitative, five-year (2007-2011) study was designed using data obtained from the South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina High School League. The findings from the first statistical test, an analysis of variance (ANOVA), revealed that the graduation rate means between schools based on size are likely to be similar. The results for the second question, using a linear regression, showed that socioeconomic status was significantly correlated to graduation rates. However, the small variance revealed that socioeconomic status has a small effect on the graduation rate. Finally, a multiple linear regression was used to analyze the impact on graduation rates when combining two variables (i.e., school size and socioeconomic status). Based on the findings, it was discovered that school size and socioeconomic status contribute significantly to the prediction of graduation rates. However, as stated with the linear regression, the small variance indicated the independent variables (i.e., socioeconomic status and school size) had a small to moderate effect on the graduation rate.

The findings from this research conclude that size is not factor on graduation rates as the mean rates for high schools classified as 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A are very similar. The results further reveal that socioeconomic status significantly impacts graduation rates; however, the variance is small suggesting that poverty is not a reliable predictor of graduation rates.

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