Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Gerald C. Ubben

Committee Members

Grady Bogue, Greg Petty, Mike Winstead


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a significant effect of student mobility on student achievement and/or a student’s gain-score test results in both reading and mathematics. A conclusion was then reached as to whether or not the schools in Tennessee are being fairly assessed since mobility is not taken into account in the state’s performance model.

The first step to this end required an investigation into the current knowledge of student mobility. The second step was an investigation into accountability in general and accountability specifically in the state of Tennessee. Approval to access the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) data for Knox County Schools was obtained. I then received student demographic data and a user name and password to access the Tennessee Department of Education web site.

The population of this study consisted of all students in the Knox County School system in grades 3-5 at the 2003 spring administration of the TCAP. The population consisted of 12,138 regular and special education students. The population data included: ethnicity, gender, grade level, membership (mobility status), school and socioeconomic status for each student. The data obtained from the web site were four composite scale scores in reading and mathematics from the 2002 and 2003 TCAP. The 2002 scale scores were then subtracted from the 2003 scale scores to obtain a gain-score test result.

Statistical results were generated by using SPSS© with statistical significance set at the .05 level. The results of the study supported some previous research on the effect of mobility on student achievement, finding that mobility adversely effects student achievement in reading and mathematics in this school district. The results were mixed when looking at the effect of mobility on student mean gain-score results. There was a significant negative effect in mathematics, but not in reading. Only 2 factors, gender and ethnicity, interacted significantly with mobility on mean mathematics achievement.

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