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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Diane J. Gibbs
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: A Study of Support Services in Schools and Their Relationship with School Effectiveness in American Public Schools: Findings from the School and Staffing Survey (SASS) 2007-2008
Dr. Jianping Shen, Chair
Dr. Charles Warfield
Dr. Liliana Rodriguez-Campos
Date: Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
This study inquired into support services in schools and their relationship with school effectiveness by using data from the National Center for Education Statistics 2007-08 School and Staffing Survey. Students’ ability to learn is impacted by their physical and mental health. It is more difficult to measure the influence of non-academic factors on school outcomes than traditional academic factors. The study focused on (a) the extent support services, beyond regular classroom instruction, are provided, (b) how provision is affected by school background, (c) whether and, if so, how providing support services relates to school effectiveness, and (d) whether and, if so, how providing support services relates to school effectiveness in schools with more than 50 percent free or reduced-price lunch rates. Descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, discriminant function analysis, and logistic regression analysis were used for this study.
Support services included school counseling, nursing, social work, psychologists, speech therapy, other professional staff, and other non-instructional staff. School effectiveness outcomes were defined as meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP), average daily attendance (ADA), and high school graduation rates.
Several significant themes emerged from the study. The analyses for provision of support services revealed that schools provided more school counselors than any of the other services. There was a statistically significant, positive relationship between speech therapy services and meeting AYP, regardless of free or reduced-price lunch rates. School nurses had a statistically significant, positive relationship with ADA, but not for schools with 50 percent or more free or reduced-price lunch rates. School counselors had a statistically significant, positive relationship with high school graduation rates, except in schools with 50 percent or more free or reduced-price lunch rates.
In summary, no one support service had a strong impact on all three outcomes. This suggests that support services have individual roles in making schools more effective. Schools with higher poverty levels are affected differently by the provision of support services. The findings have implications for further development in research, theory, practice and policy regarding support services in schools.