The Relationship between Per Pupil Expenditures and Student Achievement in Tennessee
Dr. William E. Bibb, Dr. Larry McNeal

This study examined the relationship between high school student achievement, per pupil expenditure, school district enrollment, selected student demographics (economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groupings [African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Native American/Alaskan, and White], limited English proficiency, and students with disabilities) and school district geographical location (West, Middle, East) in Tennessee. Two of the achievement tests given to Tennessee high school students are the ACT and TCAP writing assessments. These two measurements are found annually on the Tennessee Department of Education Report Card and are used in this study. There are 136 school systems in the state of Tennessee, with only 119 of those systems operating at least one high school. The 119 systems that operate at least one high school were examined in this study. Findings indicate that the average ACT score in Tennessee in 2008 was 20.7, and the average Writing Assessment average was 4.1. The average per pupil expenditure was $8,345. This research revealed that per pupil expenditure did not have a significant relationship to ACT scores or to the TCAP Writing Assessment scores. An implication is that giving schools more money does not necessarily raise student achievement, but rather how the money is spent can raise student achievement. Keywords: Student Achievement, Education, Expenditure, Tennessee,

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