Achievement Patterns Of Students In An Elite, Male Independent School

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Education and Urban Studies


Doctor of Education

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There is an underlying assumption that regardless of student ethnicity, socio-economic status, or any other variable, elite, independent schools by mission and design are effective at producing successful students. This would cause some to conclude that all students enrolled in elite, independent schools perform similarly on all academic measures. The purpose of this study was to determine whether achievement differences exist in one elite, independent school. The researcher gathered data from all tenth (n=98) and eleventh grade (n=107) students enrolled in an elite, male independent school and compared their academic achievement on select variables. Using previous studies as a framework and building upon them, the researcher selected the following seven independent variables: (a) family type, (b) ethnicity, (c) financial aid status, (d) grade entered, (e) year entered, (f) travel time, and (g) the number of varsity letters earned. Grade Point Average, class rank, and performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) subtests were the select dependent variables. Using a Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression model for the inferential statistical analysis, the results from the statistical analyses showed that: (a) Students who received financial aid scored lower on all academic achievement variables; (b) Students who earned more varsity letters scored less successfully on academic achievement variables; and (c) Students who enrolled in later years experienced higher academic achievement. Contrary to research in the public arena, ethnicity was not a statistically significant predictor of student academic achievement. Neither family type (whether parents were married or unmarried) nor travel time significantly predicted student academic achievement either. Many institutions primarily define diversity by ethnic or racial composition. In elite, independent schools, diversity is often mislabeled and misinterpreted. Many elite, independent schools would conclude that a certain ethnic group represents their largest minority subgroup; when, in fact, students and families who receive any financial aid represent the single largest cultural minority group in elite, independent schools.