An analysis of the academic achievement of urban and rural low -socioeconomic status Tennessee public schools

Johnny Crow, Tennessee State University


Comparing a small, rural school with sometimes less than 100 students to a massive inner-city school with greater than 2,500 students is crude and untenable. There are simply too many variables. Nonetheless, the No Child Left Behind Act treats these two very different schools the same. When urban and rural schools cannot meet AYP or highly qualified teacher goals set down by NCLB—consequences, in terms of funding and state control over funding, can be devastating. Thus, states are faced with an urgent need to more carefully differentiate between their urban and rural schools. By more carefully distinguishing between urban and rural schools, actual deficits and hidden strengths of these respective school systems can be better determined. This causal comparative study compares achievement scores of students in low-SES status public urban and low-SES status rural schools in the state of Tennessee to determine if there are statistical differences in the variables of ethnicity, economically disadvantaged status, students with disabilities, and limited English proficiency. Using the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), this study analyzes achievement scores in math and language arts for grades three to eight in Tennessee high poverty urban and high poverty rural schools. While there are statistical differences in student variables (all subgroups combined and economically disadvantaged students), it is possible to develop a workable model to assist in better understanding the relationships between urban and rural schools. Furthermore, additional funding for professional development, decreased class sizes, and other research-based interventions could prove effective in increasing student achievement. Parents could be made more aware of existing achievement gaps thus provoking them to be more active in their student‘s education. Schools should attempt to enact before and after school programs to better serve the subgroups that report significantly lower percentages of students scoring proficient in math and reading/language arts. In states where rural schools continue to dominate public attention, it is more important to develop an independent profile of the special location-based problems rural schools encounter. Only then can the problems experienced by rural schools be addressed.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|School administration

Recommended Citation

Johnny Crow, "An analysis of the academic achievement of urban and rural low -socioeconomic status Tennessee public schools" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3404137.