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A Descriptive Statistical Analysis of the Relationships Between Socioeconomic Status,
Attendance Rates, Per Pupil Expenditures, Teacher Qualifications, and On-Time Educational
Attainment Rates within the State of Virginia Including a Comparative Study of the Appalachian
and Non-Appalachian School Division
Kevin W. Siers
Dissertation submitted to the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Education
In
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Theodore B. Creighton, Committee Chair
James R. Craig, Committee Member
Glen I. Earthman, Committee Member
N. Wayne Tripp, Committee Member
April 1, 2010
Blacksburg, VA
Keywords: Appalachian School Divisions, Non-Appalachian School Divisions, Non-
Appalachian School Divisions of Similar Size, Non-Appalachian Large School Divisions, On-
Time Educational Attainment, and 9th Grade Bubble
A Descriptive Statistical Analysis of the Relationships Between Socioeconomic Status,
Attendance Rates, Per Pupil Expenditures, Teacher Qualifications, and On-Time Educational
Attainment Rates within the State of Virginia Including a Comparative Study of the Appalachian
and Non-Appalachian School Division
Kevin W. Siers
ABSTRACT
PURPOSE
This study had two purposes: (a) to examine the possible predicting abilities of
socioeconomic status, per pupil expenditures, percentage of highly qualified teachers and
attendance rates for on-time educational attainment in the state of Virginia and (b) to compare
the Appalachian School Divisions of Virginia with the non-Appalachian school divisions for
each of these variables.
METHOD
Data pertaining to socioeconomic status, per pupil expenditures, attendance rates, teacher
qualifications, and on-time educational attainment were collected for the graduating cohorts of
2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. A stepwise multiple regression analysis was conducted on these
variables to address the first purpose. A general linear model repeated measures ANOVA was
conducted for each variable to compare differences between the Appalachian, non-Appalachian
divisions of similar size, non-Appalachian large school divisions, and the total non-Appalachian
divisions to address the second purpose of the study.
RESULTS
Socioeconomic status and attendance rates were found to be the independent variables
that were significantly able to predict on-time educational attainment rates. Socioeconomic status
rates were found to be significantly higher in the Appalachian divisions than in the non-
Appalachian large school divisions. Teacher qualification rates were found to be significantly
higher in the Appalachian divisions than the non-Appalachian divisions of similar size. On-time
educational attainment rates were found to be significantly higher in the Appalachian school
divisions than in all three classifications of the non-Appalachian divisions.
DEDICATION
To my wife, Jane, who has been my biggest supporter through what seems like 20 years of
continuous educational pursuits.
To my mom, Carol Sue, who had to give up her own educational pursuits to raise a family and
then lost a battle with cancer just as she was about to be able to begin them once again.
To Mamaw, Garnett Forren Simmons, who taught me that being raised penniless in a log cabin
in the backwoods of Snake Run, WV doesn't mean you have to live your life poorly.
To Papaw, Charles Simmons, who was quite possibly the most intelligent sixth grade drop out
who ever lived. He taught me that having a good sense of humor and an occasional cigar under a
shade tree by the river are essential ingredients to a content life.
To my dad, Gary, who passed down the discipline and drive that have served me well in the
military, at work, and throughout these courses.
To my youngest sister, Lora Beth, who had to endure two rough years at a time that should have
been the most carefree in her life.
To my granddaughter, Samantha, who sacrificed many hours of playground time and tent
building in the house so that I attend class and work on this dissertation.
Finally, this is dedicated to every native Appalachian. We are the last remaining ethnic group
who can still be openly ridiculed without consideration for political correctness. Hopefully, the
results of this study show that we are a little more complex than we've been portrayed in the
media.
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What are good sociological research questions? The Sociology of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity Race. Culture and Race: Is Environment More Important than Race? Race Riots: What's the Cause of Racial Unrest? Ethnicity. Ethnicity and Race: What is the Difference/What is the Correlation? Nationality. Nationality and Pride: What Makes a Patriot? America: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl? We are the media we consume.