Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Mike Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 5

Dr. J. T. Johnson

Abstract

High school graduation rates and dropout rates have been a source of concern for many years. A number of strategies have been studied that could improve graduation rates and reduce dropout rates. School culture has been touted as an area that affects student achievement. As the culture of schools improves, student achievement has been shown to improve. The research focus of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between high school culture in public high schools in Mississippi and the graduation and dropout rates. School culture was measured by the School Culture Survey (SCS). As scores on the SCS increase, school climate improves. The SCS is divided into six different subsections: collaborative leadership, teacher collaboration, professional development, unity of purpose, collegial support, and learning partnerships. Teachers and counselors in 33 Mississippi public high schools took the SCS. The six subscale scores of the SCS were used as independent variables in a multiple regression analysis with the dependent variables being the graduation and dropout rates. Graduation and dropout rates were taken from the Mississippi Department of Education website.

The omnibus model demonstrated that there was a significant relationship between school culture and both graduation and dropout rates. The study found that both collegial support and learning partnerships were significant positive predictors of graduation rates. Both collegial support and learning partnerships were negative predictors of dropout rates. However, teacher collaboration was an unexpected positive predictor of dropout rates. This study found that school culture is statistically related to graduation and dropout rates. Recommendations include: additional research involving school culture and graduation and dropout rates and inclusion of measuring culture as part of professional development and evaluations.

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