Date of Award

Winter 1986

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Roger A. Johnson

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Kato Keeton


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mobility on the standardized achievement test scores of grade six students in an urban school. The study sought to (1) identify the degree of mobility experienced by grade six students in the Chesapeake Public Schools; (2) identify the degree of mobility within the Chesapeake Public Schools; (3) determine the socio-economic, gender, and ethnic characteristics of the extra-city mobile, intra-city mobile, and non-mobile grade six students; (4) determine if there were differences in the standardized achievement test scores of extra-city mobile, intra-city mobile, and non-mobile grade six students; and (5) determine if there was a difference in the rate of retention between the extra-city mobile, intra-city mobile, and non-mobile student groups. The data collected were from the 1983-84 school year.

The study employed three approaches: (1) a descriptive analysis of the grade six students by (a) mobility status, (b) socio-economic level, (c) gender, and (d) ethnic group; (2) a factorial analysis of variance with unweighted means analysis (The independent variables were: (a) three levels of mobility, (b) two levels of affluence, (c) two levels of gender, and (d) two levels of ethnicity.); (3) where appropriate, statistical means were tested using a Duncan's New Multiple Range Test.

The descriptive analysis revealed that the 1686 grade six students were (1) predominantly mobile (39.80% were extra-city mobile, and 14.00% intra-city mobile), (2) relatively affluent (only 28.53% required free or reduced price lunch); (3) slightly skewed with female students (52.08%); (4) predominantly white (66.37%).

An initial examination of the analysis of variance appears to show student mobility as a significant factor (p < .05) for reading, language arts, and the composite section, with the intra-city mobile students earning the lowest test scores. However, economic status, gender, and ethnicity impacted all four test sections and rates of retention with greater significance (p < .001). The scores earned by the disadvantaged students, the male students, and the black students were consistently the lower. This confounding of the variables makes it difficult to support the initial thesis. While interaction effects compounded the depressing influence of mobility, it may have been the cumulative effect of all four variables.