Date of Award

Spring 3-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Jason Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid


Currently in the United States a gap exists in the education of high and low socio-economic students. There is an education available for the socioeconomically challenged and a different system of education for those who live in a higher socioeconomic status. The purpose of this study was to explore the achievement gap in mathematics for elementary students. Specifically, the gap between the students’ scores who attended a school with a free and reduced price meal percentage below 25% and students’ scores who attended a school with a free and reduced price meal percentage above 75% was explored. Additionally, the focus of this study was to examine the mathematical strands with the greatest difference in achievement between the two groups. Identification of specific achievement gaps in mathematics could lead to a more individualized program of instruction and focused curriculum for students in poverty and those who are not performing at the same level as peers. The landmark differences between the groups were used to identify the gaps between student performances in both growth during the academic year and achievement on the content strands. The quantitative research questions were supported by students’ scores on the Missouri Assessment Program test, Performance Series test, and Star Math test; data were used to apply a t-test to document significance, a Pearson r to demonstrate correlation, and a review of landmarks to document trends in the data. A qualitative research question was supported by interviews of building principals and provided a human perspective. Significant differences in growth were not noted in the study. The difference between content strands on the Performance Series test did not yield significant results. However, in a study of five years of Missouri Assessment Program data there were three content strands: number and operation, algebra, and measurement which were identified as having significant differences in students’ scores.