Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William A. Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Joseph R. Davis


Schools in the United States have experienced changes in their demographic profile during the last half century. During this changing time, schools have experienced court involved desegregation and have experienced fluctuations in their populations with regard to both race and socioeconomic status. Existing studies on segregation have focused primarily on Black and White students, neglecting the increasing Hispanic population of U.S. schools. This study provides more data to the expanding research on the impact of diversity on student performance. The study examined whether diversity and teacher quality of a school can predict academic performance on state-mandated tests, while controlling for school level poverty. In this quantitative study, the researcher also analyzed whether a difference existed between the predictability of pass rates and advanced pass rates for African American, Hispanic, and White students in Virginia's elementary schools. Overall, the study found the selected schools to differ from the national trends actually showing an increase in diversity, largely due to an increase in Hispanic students and a decrease in White students. The data revealed that the impact of poverty is difficult to disentangle from the issues of diversity and teacher quality. Finally, the data revealed that the effects of poverty, diversity, and teacher quality are more significant for Reading than for Math and have more of an effect on some racial groups than on others.