Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Gary Peevely

Second Advisor

Karen Carter

Third Advisor

Benjamin Brown


The purpose of this study was to analyze school and district characteristics for 2005–2006 through 2007–2008 to determine which factors impacted science achievement for the graduating class of 2008–2009 in Tennessee. School size, socioeconomic status, per pupil instructional expenditures and rurality/urbanicity were predictor variables. Achievement was represented by performance on the science and reasoning portion of the ACT. Correlational studies indicated that socioeconomic status had a significant impact on science achievement while the impact of school size and rurality/urbanicity was observed to be weak. Statistical analyses through multiple linear regression produced a model in which socioeconomic status and rurality/urbanicity explained 65.4% of the variance observed. Schools were segmented into quintiles based on socioeconomic status in an effort to control for poverty and correlational studies were repeated. School size and rurality/urbanicity appeared to have a more significant impact on achievement, particularly for students in the highest and lowest poverty bands.


Race to the Top, Rural Schools, STEM, Standardized tests, Tennessee, Urban schools