School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Economy of Scale, Elementary Education, Grade Configuration, Grade Span, Graduation Rate, School Transition
Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education
Conley, Jeana, "The Effect of Elementary and Middle School Grade Span and Transition on Student Achievement and Graduation" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1312.
Social factors surrounding critical transition periods, school and class size, and grade configuration at the elementary level greatly impact current and future student performance. The expectation is that all of these factors are standard among schools, but in reality, every school is different; therefore, the potential for inconsistent quality of learning exists. This causal-comparative study explored the difference etween school size, grade span configuration, and transitions associated with a district’s seven elementary feeder schools in a small county in rural Western North Carolina. Differences in student performance, in both reading and math, at the elementary, middle, and high school level, as well as graduation rates, were examined for ties to the identified feeder school. The elements of teacher quality, teacher turnover, and principal turnover were explored as potential variables in student performance. An ex-post facto statistical analysis utilizing t-tests provided an exploration of feeder school characteristics and which feeder schools are more likely to produce successful academic achievement and graduation from high school. The data analysis revealed no statistically significant difference among students who experienced fewer transitions in their school career in regard to reading performance. However, the students who attended a Pre-K through grade eight school had higher mean scores in math than the students who attended a Pre-K through grade five school. Although no statistically significant difference was found between the school configuration and successful graduation, it was noted that students who did not attend any elementary school in the district had a much higher dropout rate.