Author

Steve Prissel

Date Approved

2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy

Committee Member

David Winters

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether a relationship exists between the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) scores of school of choice students and resident students. Background factors were also considered in the study, with focus on grade, gender, race, and special education and socioeconomic status of the students. The study included 5,975 students from 14 school districts in one Michigan intermediate school district (ISD). The NWEA computer-adaptive test assessed achievement/progress in math and reading in grades 3–8. This study used pre and post assessments, once in the fall and once in the spring, to assess the level of achievement growth. Students in this study completed the math and reading portions of the NWEA during the 2014–15 school year. A quantitative, correlational design was used in this study to show the relationship, if any, between NWEA math and reading scores of school of choice (SOC) and resident students. What was the relationship between students’ residency status and math and reading achievement as measured by NWEA? and What was the relationship between students’ residency status and math and reading achievement as measured by NWEA after controlling for background factors? These guiding questions and this research are important because of growing nationwide concerns by parents, policy-makers, and school leaders about the educational value of school choice and the competition for per-pupil funding based the school district’s ability to attract and retain out-of-district students. Maintaining high achievement scores is critical. This study concluded that the grade level of the student was impactful to achievement scores, but the SOC status was not.

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