Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science

Date of Defense

5-13-2015

Graduate Advisor

Jones,Endsley Terrence

Committee

Mark Pope, Ed.D.

Dr. Richard Middleton

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan-Brown

Abstract

The academic achievement gap between the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County students indicates educational and racial disparity between the city and county schools. The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County school districts have tried to solve this racial disparity in public education through St. Louis’ interdistrict student transfer program, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC). Starting in the 1980s, this transfer program aimed to desegregate the predominantly white, higher performing county school districts and the predominantly black, low performing city school district. This dissertation focuses on the effectiveness of this program. Do African American students over time perform better in an integrated suburban setting than in a largely segregated inner-city setting? This dissertation is the first of its kind to use individual student data to examine the effectiveness of VICC in improving the quality of education received by its participating students. Multi-level longitudinal regression analysis measures the Missouri Achievement Program (MAP) test scores of city, county, and transfer students between the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 school years. The dependent variable is student MAP test scores. The independent variable consists of five types of students: white county students, black county students, white city students, black city students, and black transfer students. The control variables are the socio-economic status, educational assistance, and language limitation of each student. The major findings are, one, program participation improves a student’s academic performance; therefore, black transfer students score higher than black city students. Two, the longer the participation in the program, the greater the effect the program has on student achievement. Black transfer students progress at the same rate as white county students. The eight multi-level regression models used find the relationship between student test scores and student types support these hypotheses. Participation in the transfer program allows and reflects increased achievement for black transfer students, while black city students progress at a diminished rate.

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