Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William A. Owings

Committee Member

John A. Nunnery

Committee Member

Jason Osborne


The current financial state of our nation, in combination with the pressure to meet state accountability testing and a global call for better prepared twenty first century learners, has produced a situation where all levels of government have to make difficult decisions regarding expenditures. In order to ensure that education receives appropriate funding, research is necessary to show a relationship between spending and student achievement. This study examines the effects of sustained increases and decreases in state fiscal effort on student achievement measured by scores from 4th and 8th grade math NAEP scores over an eighteen year period. A quantitative analysis of the data showed that fiscal effort, independently, is not a significant predictor of student achievement. However, the combined effects of fiscal effort and the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch (FRPL) significantly predict student achievement. In high poverty schools, sustained increases in fiscal effort result in decreased student achievement. In low poverty schools, sustained increases in fiscal effort result in increased student achievement.


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