Term of Award

Summer 2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

William R. Rowe


While leaders in rural South Georgia have continued to debate the notion of school size as it applies to high schools, limited research was available to support staying small or continued growth through consolidation. In this study, schools from rural South Georgia were examined in order to collect data that could provide communities with the resources available to either advocate for large or small rural high schools. Moreover, it could also provide the rationalization necessary for some larger schools to split. The purpose was to establish the relationship between school size and academic achievement, and the relationship was between school size and school climate. For the study, a quantitative ex post facto research design was used to determine what, if any relationships existed between academic achievement, school climate, and school size. All data regarding academic achievement, school size, and socioeconomic status were matters of public record and were collected through various online sources. In order to establish school climate, high school teachers in three of the prescribed schools examined were asked to complete a survey. In this study, the academic achievement means of the last three testing administrations of the mathematics Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) were compared between three groups of 40 high schools whereby each school was assigned to a particular group as a result of that school's enrollment. Moreover, these means were adjusted using wealth as an established covariate for each of the examined schools. Significant mean differences and adjusted mean differences were found between small schools and medium schools. Additionally, significant mean differences and adjusted mean differences were found between small schools and large schools. School climate was examined in one small school, one medium school, and one large school through the administration of a survey. Of the schools examined, small schools demonstrated the highest school climate followed by medium then large schools respectively.

Research Data and Supplementary Material