• School Factors Related to Reading Achievement in Rural Schools with and without High Poverty

      Miller, Seth W.
      This quantitative study identified how rural schools differ on five school-level factors related to student achievement according to their performance on Grade 3 reading. Through use of a MANOVA test, it was shown that principals of high-poverty rural schools that made AYP in Grade 3 reading reported significantly higher levels of guaranteed and viable curriculum than principals of high-poverty rural schools that did not make AYP. There were no significant differences in the presence of the school-level factors in rural schools without high poverty based on the principal reports. Additionally, the study identified which school-level factors predict student achievement in rural schools with and without high poverty. Through use of a multiple regression test, it was determined that the school-level factors did not serve as significant predictors of Grade 3 reading performance in the high poverty rural schools. One factor, guaranteed and viable curriculum, was shown to predict for student achievement in rural schools without high poverty. In conducting this study, additional research questions were addressed. Through linear regression, it was demonstrated that poverty accounted for much more of the variance in reading scores in non-rural schools (58%, N = 1,761) than in rural schools (19%, N = 427). Through multivariate multiple regression testing, it was found that there was not a significant ability for either Grade 3 reading performance or poverty to predict for the school-level factors in rural schools. Finally, through multiple regression testing, it was determined that three predictors (poverty, guaranteed and viable curriculum, and safe and orderly environment) were able to significantly predict reading scores for rural schools. The results of the study provide rural school leaders a better understanding of the overall strengths and weaknesses of a particular school and the potential benefits of school improvement initiatives geared around school-level factors. This knowledge will prove useful to the overall research base on rural school effectiveness. More specifically, this knowledge will help guide the decisions of school leaders concerned with improving student achievement in rural school districts with high poverty.