Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, Rufus D.

Committee Member

Davis, Ed

Committee Member

Prince, Debra

Committee Member

Brocato, Kay

Committee Member

Scholtes, Tina

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Coffey, Kent

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


This study investigated the perceptions of school from students of differing ages, genders, ethnic groups, and grade levels in a rural school environment. The ages were divided into four categories: 11–12 years of age, 13–14 years of age, 15–16 years of age, and 17–19 years of age. The ethnic groups in the school population were African Americans and Caucasians. The different grade levels were 7th through 12th. Wilson and Corbett (1999), in the Report for the Philadelphia Education Fund, “No Excuses”: The Eighth Grade Year in Six Philadelphia Middle Schools, discussed students’ views of what they want their teachers to be like. Later in another book, Listening to Urban Kids, School Reform, and the Teachers They Want, Wilson and Corbett (2002) stated that their overall purpose for conducting this study was to document students’ perceptions of their educational experiences and track how those perceptions evolved over the 3-year period. The investigators initially selected five middle schools from the Philadelphia School District. Wilson and Corbett used interview protocols and selected 50 students from each school who participated in the study. In this study, the researcher compared the results to those of Wilson and Corbett focusing on 10 areas. Students were asked to respond to a series of questions from each area on the survey, which included the following: (a) student’s perception on the transition to high school; (b) student’s perception on learning experiences; (c) student’s perception on success; (d) student’s perception on school safety; (e) student’s perception on the school culture and/or environment; (f) student’s perception on peer pressure; (g) student’s perception on getting good grades; (h) student’s perception on instructional differences; (i) student’s perception on challenging work; and (j) the student’s future plans. The students selected their best choice from the answers given. Using interview protocols, the students responded to the same categories. The results produced data that will enable teachers, administrators, parents, and policy makers to implement school reform effectively by better understanding the students’ perceptions from a rural school environment. Recommendations for further research include the following: (a) determine if the results found in this study are the same as those of students in other rural school environments, (b) gain a greater understanding of the perceptions that students have about school, (c) determine if there is a direct correlation between students’ perception of school and student achievement, and (d) determine if school districts will utilize the data to aid in improving instruction, policy, and procedures within the school district.



students perceptions of school||rural students' perceptions of school||student's perceptions