Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected demographic characteristics on the reading ability of fourth grade students in Louisiana. The dependent variable for this study was reading ability of fourth grade students. Independent variables were demographic characteristics as measured by reading achievement (overall reading score and subscale reading score on the LEAP assessment). The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) exam is a high-stakes test that is administered to fourth grade students in Louisiana. Students must pass specific portions of the test to be promoted to fifth grade. Academic achievement data on the LEAP test were obtained from the Louisiana Department of Education. The sample for the study was all fourth grade students enrolled in public elementary schools in Louisiana during the 2008-2009 school year who were not classified as special education, 504, or Limited English Proficiency. Academic achievement, as measured by Reading, Math and English Language Arts scores on the LEAP, was described and correlated with selected demographic characteristics. Demographic findings of the study showed that the largest groups of subjects were of the Caucasian race and female gender. Findings of the study indicated that African American students scored lower than all other students on all Reading, Math and English Language Arts measures examined. The researcher concluded that the interaction factor between Socioeconomic Status and African American racial status was highly significant in the achievement of fourth grade students. Another conclusion of the study was that the Caucasian race is no longer the majority of fourth grade students in public schools in Louisiana. The researcher recommended that state-level administrators of educational programs in Louisiana develop new courses that would provide more remedial help for low socioeconomic African American students to help them to close the gap that is currently apparent with the other racial groups.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael F.