Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Forde, M. Connie

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Davis, James

Committee Member

Alexander, Mary

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of four variables, principal salary, district wealth, student socioeconomic status, and school size, on the achievement level of public school students in Mississippi. The first, principal salary, was found not to have been studied as a variable that may correlate with student achievement. One may have hypothesized that more effective principals would correlate with increased student achievement test scores and that those principals would have been rewarded with higher salaries. The results of this study did not support that idea. The data indicated that there was no meaningful correlation between highly paid principals and higher student achievement. There was no significant correlation between district wealth and student achievement. This may indicate that Mississippi school funding (MAEP) and federal funding have been effective in aiding low-wealth schools as was intended by lawmakers. There was a significant low positive correlation between school size and student achievement in non-urban elementary schools and a significant very low positive correlation with student achievement in high schools. That places this study in the minority camp of recent research in concluding that larger schools did not correlate with lower achievement. The most significant, meaningful, and important finding of this study was the dramatic impact that student poverty has on student achievement in Mississippi. In urban schools and rural schools, in elementary, middle, and high schools, poorer children scored poorly on their achievement tests. Correlations were significant moderate to high at all levels, with the highest at middle schools with a significant high negative correlation of -.636. The analysis indicates that a decrease in poverty will result in a dramatic increase in student achievement.