An Investigation of the Effects of Community Drug Use on Academic Achievement in the Public School Systems of the State of Alabama
Type of DegreeDissertation
Leadership and Technology
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Historical academic achievement data from the Alabama State Department of Education and historical drug arrest data from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center were analyzed to determine the correlation between community drug use, as measured by drug arrest data, and academic achievement, as measured by scores from standardized tests, across the state on a real-time, long-term basis. Real-time, long-term was defined as the comparison of drug arrest data from a specific year to academic achievement data from the same year. Also, the same data were analyzed to determine the correlation between community drug use and academic achievement on a skewed-time, long-term basis to determine any apparent prenatal effects. Skewed-time, long-term was defined as the comparison of drug arrest data from a specific year to academic achievement data 8 years later. Free and reduced price lunch data, an indicator of socioeconomic status, were also analyzed to determine the correlation between community drug use and socioeconomic status in order to see if socioeconomic status might need to be a consideration when looking at community drug use and academic achievement relationships. Results of the correlational analyses indicated a consistent low correlation between community drug use and academic achievement as measured by the Stanford Achievement Test Series, Ninth Edition, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and the ACT. Socioeconomic status, as measured by free and reduced price lunch data, was also related to community drug use. Results of analyses controlling for socioeconomic status showed a trend toward diminishing positive correlations between drug use and academic achievement and a reversal from positive to negative values. A logical conclusion, suggested by the results of this study, is that increased drug usage in a community affects in some way the children of those users and in turn has some detrimental effect on their academic achievement.