The relationship between degrees of poverty and student achievement
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
First Committee Member
James D. McKinney, Committee Chair
The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were differences in the academic achievement for 4th and 8th grade students at three different levels of poverty. The three degrees/levels were: high poverty, students who automatically qualified for free lunch due to their family's receipt of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), income below 100% of the federal poverty line; medium poverty, students who applied for and were found eligible for free lunch, due to family income below 130% of the federal poverty line; and low poverty, students who applied for and were found eligible for reduced price lunch, income between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty line. Additionally, the study determined whether there were differences in achievement for students in schools with different student compositions. School composition had three groups: high poverty---over 90% of students receiving free or reduced price lunch; medium poverty---70 to 90% of students receiving free or reduced price lunch; and low poverty---less than 70% of students receiving free or reduced price lunch.Extant achievement test data were obtained from the Office of Educational Planning of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. A sample of 9,000 fourth and eighth grade students who were eligible for the free or reduced price lunch program and had scores for the 1998 administration of the Stanford Achievement Test was selected.The data were analyzed by using MANOVA, ANOVA, and HLM to assess effects. The results of the study revealed that at both 4th and 8 th grade, the academic achievement of students in the three poverty groups differed significantly in both reading comprehension and mathematics. Students in the low poverty group scored significantly higher on both measures than students in the medium poverty group, who scored significantly higher than the high poverty group. Additionally, the results of the study revealed that the academic achievement of students in 4th and 8 th grade in both reading comprehension and mathematics applications was significantly different at the schools with different school compositions. Students in the low poverty schools scored significantly higher than students in the medium poverty schools, who scored significantly higher than the students in high poverty schools.The effect size computations confirmed the results of the ANOVA's in the majority of cases. Small effects were found in 58% of the comparisons of student scores at the three different poverty levels and in 67% of the comparisons of student scores at schools with different student compositions. Although the study revealed significant results, the amount of variance accounted for was low and indicates that other factors were contributing to the phenomenon in question.The results of this study support the need for continued effort in the attempt to decrease the gap that exists between affluent and poor students. The results also support the need for further research into determining what other factors impact student achievement.
Education, Tests and Measurements; Education, Elementary
Sorhaindo, Linda Ruth, "The relationship between degrees of poverty and student achievement" (2003). Dissertations from ProQuest. 2049.