Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Faith Waters, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Sue Rieg, D. Ed.

Third Advisor

Kathleen Foster, Ed.D.


This research focuses on educational programming and student achievement in a middle school in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The school was selected primarily because its students score higher than average on state standardized tests while its population consists of a percentage of low income students higher than the state average. Interviews, document reviews, focus groups, and surveys provided a comprehensive picture of the organization, educational programming, and student achievement. Based on the results of this study, there are several recommendations for fostering student achievement in a middle school environment with low socioeconomic status. First, a close relationship between students and teachers seemed to be very important to this district in this study. Second, directly related to maintaining a close relationship with students are programs such as advisories and exploratories. These programs are unique in that students work very closely with teachers and they have the opportunity to focus on non-academic subjects such as wrestling and drama. Third, closely related to these strong teacher/student relationships is varied instruction. Due to the fact that students may vary significantly in ability, teachers must be able to reach students via differentiated and individualized instruction. Finally, faculty and administrators both agreed that their special focus on developing programming to address standardized tests was extremely important to student achievement on these academic measures.