Social Science Research Center Publications and Scholarship

Alternative Title

The Effects of Poverty on Reading and Vocabulary in Low Socio-Economic Schools.


Dr. Jacob Bryant; Dr. Clint Taylor; Dr. Jason Creekmore



This study focuses on the impact of poverty on student achievement in reading and the vocabulary development of students in rural elementary schools. It provides research through the literature review on the impact administrator and teacher leadership has on poverty as it relates to student achievement. The United Nations Development Programme (2020), reported that people are multi-dimensionally poor, experiencing deprivation in health, education, and living standards. The only way to combat poverty is through education (World Vision, 2021). Because of the challenges poverty induces in today’s educational system, there is a greater demand for higher standards and a more diverse educational system. Therefore, educators must exhibit transformational leadership skills and pedagogical knowledge to help students become successful (Pushpandam & Mammen, 2020). This study connects to leadership by exploring the way quality leadership is particularly important for both principals and teachers in schools serving students living in poverty. For this quantitative study, the population group consisted of elementary students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades within a specific geographic region in Southeastern Kentucky. Stratification of the initial population was conducted to determine which schools have a high poverty rate based on the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch based on Kentucky Department of Education and USDA (2021) guidelines. Archival K-Prep and MAP data were used as comparison points between poverty and non-poverty students. By understanding the correlation between poverty and student achievement educators, as transformational leaders, can implement instructional strategies and instructional programs that enhance student achievement.

Publication Date



College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership