Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Advisor/Chair:

Amy Kate Bailey

Abstract

There are an estimated 1.2 million children with one or both parents enlisted in military service. These children are more geographically mobile than civilian children on average, and previous research suggests that mobility can have great effects on an individual's academic performance. This study seeks to answer the question: How does the standardized test performance of Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools compare to those of public schools with high concentrations of military children (funded by Impact Aid). It is hypothesized that due to higher average levels of funding, a standard curriculum, and both embedded and intentional social support, DoDEA schools will have higher standardized test scores than public schools with high concentrations of military children. Consistent with previous literature that finds a standardized test bias in favor of white students, it is also hypothesized that schools that are located in ZIP Codes with high percentages of Black and Hispanic residents will have lower test scores. This research will contribute to a growing body of literature on childhood migration, as well as the literature focused on the effects of the military on personnel's families and children.

Through a series of bivariate correlations and nested regression analyses, I find that Impact Aid schools had higher percentages of students proficient in reading, math, and science than DoDEA schools. ZIP Code Tabulation Area measures of racial and ethnic composition, as reported in the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (2007- 2011), were statistically significant predictors of proficiency in reading and math. As the percentage of non-White community composition increased, the percentage of students proficient in reading and math decreased (β = -11.328*, p ≤ .05). Controlling for these community-level variables still resulted in higher overall standardized test proficiency in Impact Aid schools

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