The relationship between accreditation levels of school districts in Mississippi and selected variables

Charles Collis Lyle

Abstract

The general purpose of the study was to determine if the variables of socio-economic status of the districts' student population, economic wealth of the districts, size of the student minority population of the districts, graduation rate of the districts, and students' total reading score in grade 4, as a composite set were significant discriminators of the accreditation levels of 148 school districts as assigned by the Mississippi State Department of Education. In addition, the independent relationship of each variable to the accreditation levels of these districts was studied. The ultimate goal of this study was to provide information relative to the accreditation process in Mississippi. The subjects of this study were the 148 K-12 school districts within the geographical confines of the state of Mississippi during the school years 1995 through 1997. All data were collected from the Mississippi Report Card for school years 1995-96 and 1996-97. Multiple discriminate analysis was used to test for a significant relationship between the accreditation levels of the school districts and the selected variables as a composite set. In addition, the same technique was used to test for a significant relationship between the accreditation levels of the school districts and selected individual variables while controlling the remaining selected individual variables. It was found that a significant relationship existed between the accreditation levels of the 148 school districts and the composite set of selected variables with the most significant variable being that of the socio-economic status of the student population of the districts as measured by the percentage of students qualifying for free lunch. In other words, it was found that the accreditation levels of the 148 subject school districts could be predicted by the percentage of students qualifying for free lunch in those districts with approximately the same accuracy as using the 37 criteria applied by the Mississippi State Department of Education. While there were no other individual significant relationship between the other variables and accreditation levels of the school districts, consistent individual relationships did exist between the other variables and accreditation levels.