Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Patricia Smeaton, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Crystal Machado, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Douglas Lare, Ed.D.


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between high-school size, socioeconomic status (SES), and educational opportunities. The study examines whether our public education system is providing students an education of equal opportunity along with equal access to these opportunities. Data from public high schools (N=473) in Pennsylvania were collected. Total enrollment in grades 9-12 and the Market Value Personal Income/Aid Ratio (MV PI/AR) were used as independent variables. The dependent variables included offerings and enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, honors courses, and interscholastic athletics. Descriptive, summary, and inferential statistics were utilized for analyses. Bivariate correlations were computed for all interval/ratio independent and dependent variables. In addition, multinomial and linear regression analyses were conducted. Results revealed that the size of the high school in connection with its SES strongly influences educational opportunities. The ability for students to access and enroll in specific educational opportunities available to them varies significantly based on size and SES. This research indicated that although high-school size is a strong predictor of AP course offerings and enrollment, SES is the strongest predictor. This study can help decision makers in schools of various size and SES to improve access and participation in important educational experiences for students as well as indicate the need for further examination into how specific schools can provide increased opportunities to students.