Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. Kieth Williams


This research project was designed to provide a foundational study of the effectiveness of a state categorical fund directed at poverty students called NSLA funding on literacy and math achievement in Arkansas. Poverty funding for students in Arkansas is realatively new and there have not been any studies to examine the impact of this funding to date. Literacy and math achievement scaled scores were evaluated for one year for fourth, sixth, and eighth grades by four NSLA levels, NSLA level 1, NSLA level 2, NSLA level 3, and NSLA level 4.

This causal comparative study was conducted with data from school districts in Arkansas. In the first phase of the study, two school districts were randomly chosen from each of the four NSLA levels (eight school districts in all). The NSLA levels were based on percentages of students who received free or reduced lunches in the districts. Math and literacy achievement were measured in these school districts using scaled scores from the Arkansas Augmented Benchmark Examination.

The sample consisted of 720 students randomly chosen from the eight districts. Thirty students were chosen from each grade level in each district. Descriptive statistics were reported for the sample, but were not included in the statistical analysis. A series of six one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were used to analyze the data, with NSLA level as the independent variable and math and literacy scores as the dependent variables. Significant differences were found among the different NSLA levels on all six hypotheses; therefore, all six null hypotheses were rejected.

In the second phase of the study, the way in which NSLA program funds were spent in school districts was examined. Six districts were chosen from each of the four funding levels (24 school districts in all), and the percentages of fund expenditures among 11 categories of spending were determined. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the expenditures at each of the four NSLA levels to determine if spending patterns could be found, and if so, which patterns were most effective.

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