Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Edward Cox


There is no question that economic deprivation has an adverse impact on student achievement. In the United States, the gaps in achievement among poor and advantaged students are substantial. Through multiple studies, the United States Department of Education (2006) indicated results that "clearly demonstrated that poverty adversely affected student achievement." Closing the achievement gap and achieving success for all students presents a challenge for schools, particularly those located in high-poverty areas (Brock & Groth, 2003). Current research illustrates that some schools, often referred to as high-performing, high-poverty schools, have led their low-income student populations to high levels of achievement, matching their more affluent peers (Ambrose, 2008). Hypothesizing that some schools were doing quite well with students from low-income families, the director for the Center for Urban Studies at Harvard University, Ronald Edmonds and other researchers looked at achievement data from schools in major cities around the country where student populations were from high-poverty areas. Nationwide, these researchers found schools where poor children were learning but were puzzled as to why certain schools made a difference and others did not. Researchers began to document the characteristics of effective schools. During the 1980s a list was developed that identified common characteristics that were present in effective schools. These traits became known as the Correlates of Effective Schools because they correlated with high levels of student achievement. These correlates appeared repeatedly in high-performing schools, despite the schools' demographics or socioeconomic levels (Effective Schools, 2012). Research regarding high-poverty, high-performing elementary schools specifically located in South Carolina is limited. The purpose of this research is to learn how principals of high-poverty, high-performing elementary schools in South Carolina promote high levels of student achievement. The results of this study will identify the primary correlates that principals perceive are present in high-performing, high-poverty schools. This descriptive study, hopefully, will generate recommendations that lend support to low-performing, high-poverty schools in South Carolina.


© 2013, Katie Wall Barber