Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Department name when degree awarded

Educational Administration

Committee Chair(s)

Homer M. Johnson


Homer M. Johnson


Oral L. Ballam


Malcom Allred


James P. Shaver


Walter R. Borg


Terrance E. Hatch


The setting for this longitudinal cost-quality study was unique insofar as it provided the rare opportunity to involve a district that had undergone a "rags to riches" transition during the past decade.

The purpose of the study was twofold: (1) To report changes in the "learning opportunities" that were brought about as a result of money. (2) To determine if the per pupil expenditure level had any influence on the learning opportunities of pupils in the San Juan School District, as measured by the achievement gains on the California Achievement Test.

Three hypotheses were tested, all of which hypothesized that the amount of expenditure per pupil would influence the learning opportunities of students in the San Juan School District.

Three school years, 1953, 1958, and 1965, representative of low, transitional, and high expenditure years were selected to compare the achievement gains of pupils.

The sample, consisting of 731 pupils from the three different expenditure years, was drawn from the same schools and grades within the district.

Prior to this study, the 1950 edition of the California Achievement Test had been given to the 1953 and 1958 groups of students and was also given to the 1965 group of students. For statistical computations, I. Q. scores from the California Test of Mental Maturity were obtained for each student.

The research design employed the analysis of covariance to test the significant differences among the group means. The individual comparison between the adjusted means was based on Duncan's Multiple Range Test.

The analysis of covariance produced F values which con firm ed all three of the research hypotheses. Statistical evidence indicates that students who attended the two designated schools in San Juan during the high expenditure school year, 1965, did attain significantly higher achievement scores in reading, arithmetic, language, and total achievement, than did the students who attended the same schools during the low expenditure year, 1953, or the transitional year, 1958. However, there were no significant differences in the achievement gains between the low and transitional expenditure years.

The following conclusions were submitted:

1. As additional money became available and provision for learning opportunities changed, educational expenditures increased.

2. As San Juan spent more money on its schools, they generally were able to employ and retain better teachers. The district was able to and did provide more functionally designed and better equipped facilities, instructional materials, and other aids which were helpful in providing better teaching.

3. Money actually purchased professionally trained teachers as evidenced by improvements in the teacher certification, percentage of teachers possessing degrees, teacher turnover, teacher-pupil ratio, annual adoption of competitive salary schedules, and the possible life-time earning capacity of a beginning teacher.

4. This study implies that, other factors being equal, learning opportunities and expenditure levels tend to go together.

5. There is a definite correspondence between school expenditures and learning opportunities when learning opportunities are measured in terms of achievement gains from the California Achievement Test.

6. If the significance and implication of this study is realized and brought to the public's attention, it will dispell the fallacy that the power of teacher resourcefulness, ingenuity, and good will and dedicated hard work will overcome a meager budget.

7. Often times people are content to be "equal to the average." In a school system this feeling may be expressed in salaries, numbers, achievement, expenditures, cost per meal, pupil-teacher ratio, etc. However, results from this study indicate that being "equal to the average in school expenditures," is sometimes misleading and perhaps not much better than being below the average. To illustrate, when San Juan's average expenditure per pupil was comparable to that of the state of Utah, the students in the district did not attain significantly higher scores on a standardized achievement test than did the students who attended the same schools when San Juan's average expenditure per pupil was the lowest in the state. On the other hand, when San Juan's average expenditure far exceeded Utah's, significant differences in student achievement were prevalent. Therefore, it would seem advisable for school systems throughout the country not to be complacent and satisfied to be an "average spender," but in the process of spending not to overlook the necessity of planning and development of specific criteria essential to a quality program, which eventually should lead to excellence.