School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Meredith Park


Average Daily Membership, Level of Funding, Local Composite Index, Local Per-pupil Expenditures, Graduation Rates, Required Local Effort




This study examined the correlation between school division graduation rates and the percentage of expenditures above the required local effort (PEARLE) for all 133 school divisions located within Virginia in the fiscal years 2015–2018. This study aimed to discover whether increased local government school funding beyond the required local effort had a significant impact on the terminal completion of student achievement in the form of on-time graduation rates. The researcher conducted the study using a correlational bivariate data analysis. Convenience sampling was utilized to attain needed data for the study by collecting funding and graduation rate archived data for each of the 133 school divisions from the Virginia Department of Education website. The researcher calculated z scores and eliminated outliers by comparing z-score calculations to scatter plots. The researcher looked for the classic cigar shape. After eliminating identified outliers, the researcher implemented the correlational research design utilizing Pearson’s correlation coefficient and analyzed PEARLE and on-time graduation rates using a ratio scale to measure the potential correlation between PEARLE and on-time graduation rates. The researcher failed to reject the null hypothesis for each fiscal year. Recommendations for future research include conducting the same study for fiscal year 2021 and beyond due to the elimination of the required local effort requirement and perform the same study both before and after COVID-19 in other states to compare to Virginia as each state collects the same data due to the passing of the Graduation Counts Compact.

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