Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Steffes

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


The purpose of this study was to analyze how high schools in the state of Missouri’s rural, suburban, and urban areas were preparing students for post-secondary education and career readiness. The researcher analyzed the state of Missouri secondary data gathered from the 2013 through 2017 school years, in urban, suburban, and rural high schools. The researcher also surveyed school guidance counselors and administrators. The data represented consisted of ACT Composite Scores, Annual Performance Reports, Post-Secondary Placements, Career and Technical Education Placements, Dropout Rates, and Graduation Rates. This examination utilized a mixed method study to gain an understanding of each school’s delivery method, as well as factual data. Such an investigation was undertaken to understand how each targeted school was performing and what areas needed improvements. The results of the study indicated that there were multiple elements that may be causing urban school students to perform less than their counterparts, and suburban schools to outperform rural and urban schools. Suburban students had the highest score for meeting or exceeding the minimum ACT score, rural schools came second, and urban schools had the lowest scores. Rural schools had the highest number of students attending Technical Schools after graduation. Data also indicated that counselors from rural schools felt that an unsuccessful strategy was verbally telling students to apply to college, and that universal programs did not work well with their students. Suburban school counselors felt their caseloads were too large, which limited the 1-1 interaction that students needed. Urban school counselors felt that getting parents involved was a iii challenge and students had high levels of trauma, which led to difficulty in focusing on college or career options.


Copyright 2018