Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Miguel de los Santos

Second Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ralph Carlson


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether, or to what extent, property wealth of the upper and lower 5% districts, per pupil expenditure, limited English proficient students, economically disadvantaged students, membership, and teacher experience contribute to student achievement in 5th grade reading and mathematics. To do this, the fifth grade reading and math achievement scores, based on the TAKS Assessments, to represent student achievement were evaluated against district wealth, per pupil expenditure, economic disadvantage, limited English language proficiency, membership, and years of teaching experience of teachers for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. A combination of descriptive statistics, correlation, and regression were used to test the hypotheses. Results supported that fifth grade reading achievement was significantly and negatively affected by economic disadvantage, limited English proficiency, and teacher years of experience. For fifth grade math achievement, variables of economic disadvantage supported lower achievement, whereas limited English proficiency and years of teaching experience affected a positive or higher achievement in 2011 specifically. In addition, the upper and lower 5% wealth in the district supported significant differences in district wealth, per pupil expenditures, member wealth, and economic disadvantage. Understanding whether these challenges associated with economic disadvantage and inequitable funding significantly affect student achievement is critical to supporting effective strategies for improvement. The results support the notion that targeting the lower 5% wealth districts, which in this study demonstrated significant differences in district wealth, per pupil expenditures, member wealth, and economic disadvantage, for additional funding may prove effective in improving teaching and learning for opportunities for these struggling students. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)


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