School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Judy P. Shoemaker

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


academic achievement, ACT, athletic participation, GPA, student-athlete, TSSAA


Educational Psychology


This causal-comparative study with a narrative component investigated the effect athletic participation on the academic achievement of senior student-athletes and non-athletes who attended three public high schools in Eastern Tennessee. The impetus for the study was the conflicting research as it relates to the impact athletics participation had on academic success at the college and high school levels. Through student athlete and non-athlete comparisons of ACT scores and GPAs, the researcher found athletic participation did not affect academic achievement for high school seniors who graduated in 2009 from the three target high schools when compared to non-athletes. However, statistically significant and extremely significant differences were found when the ACT scores and GPAs of the male and female student- athletes were compared. Data was also collected from the target high schools' teaching staffs. The Likert scale survey items and open-ended responses from the target high schools' teachers revealed the following regarding the academic achievement of senior student-athletes: the effect of athletic participation was positive, school systems directly affect the academic achievement of senior student- athletes, parental involvement directly affects academic achievement, athletic participation and academic achievement was important in the target school community, and the effect of athletic participation on the AYP measurement was positive.