Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Policy Studies


Cunningham, Miller G.


The positive link between educational attainment and improved socioeconomic outcomes under the auspices of the current economic environment is essential to the survival of rural states like Mississippi, which has some of the nation's lowest educational attainment and income levels. One of the most promising education policies for Mississippi is related to research on school size, district size, and positive educational outcomes among students. Smaller schools and districts are increasingly being touted as the basis for rural school reform, renewed economic development efforts in rural communities, and cost effective means to overcoming barriers poor students face in graduating high school and scoring higher on state achievement tests. However, data from Mississippi indicates school size and district may function differently in the state. This study explores school size at the high school level and at the district level, using Mississippi as a case study. It incorporates socioeconomic well-being factors associated with influencing student outcomes for the state's public high schools.