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Title:The relationship of socioeconomic status and school district funding to student achievement: A study of Illinois elementary school districts
Author(s):DiGangi, Melissa L.
Director of Research:Alexander, Kern
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Alexander, Kern
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hackmann, Donald; Herrmann, Mary; Hood, Denice
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):School district funding and student achievement
Socioeconomic status and student achievement
Abstract:In a democratic society that prides itself on equality, there has been much debate regarding the inequality latent within its public education system. Notably, where the U.S. achievement gap between rich and poor continues to persist (Kena et al., 2016), there has been continued focus on narrowing the gap, and as part of that discussion, school finance often surfaces as a controllable, systematic variable that has the potential reinforce or narrow the achievement gap. Of the states receiving the most attention for their education finance systems, Illinois has gained attention for having the heaviest reliance on local property wealth (Kena et al.). As a result, the state has received much scrutiny and criticism regarding its inequitable funding structure (Baker et al., 2017) and its subsequent achievement, employment, and income gaps (Martire, 2013). Employing the Pearson Product Moment (PPM) correlation, this study examined the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and student achievement outcomes in 374 Illinois elementary school districts, exploring the relationship between the school district’s percentage of low-income students and its effect on achievement as measured by the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Using multiple linear regression analyses, this study also examined the effect of a school district’s low-income percentage and that effect irrespective of per pupil expenditure. In addition, this study evaluated the effectiveness of Illinois’ funding structure—a foundation aid method—employing the Gini coefficient, in conjunction with Pearson Product Moment (PPM) correlation and multiple linear regression analyses, to analyze the effectiveness of Illinois’ funding structure to mitigate for the effect that socioeconomic status (SES) has on achievement. The findings of this study indicated that SES, Individual Low-Income status specifically, was highly correlated to Low-Income District Percentage and that both Individual Low-Income status and Instructional Expenditure Per Pupil (IEPP) had a significant effect on student achievement. In addition, the findings indicated that the distribution of school district funds was highly inequitable and that Illinois’ funding structure systematically reinforced and exacerbated the effects of SES on achievement.
Issue Date:2017-11-09
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Melissa DiGangi
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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