Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Analysis of Post-Secondary Bound Graduation Rates in Pennsylvania Public Schools

Lovelace, Elijah (2020) Analysis of Post-Secondary Bound Graduation Rates in Pennsylvania Public Schools. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Submitted Version

Download (812kB) | Preview


High school graduation rates have been increasing statewide in Pennsylvania in recent years. However, the rate of these graduates attending any form of post-secondary education remains inconsistent across the state and even within districts. Access to post-secondary education is important to public health because significant reductions in negative health outcomes have been observed in those with post-secondary education levels. This thesis analyzes the relationship between a school’s post-secondary bound graduation rate and the distribution of the race and socioeconomic status of the student population. In order to quantify and test these relationships for statistical significance, we developed a mixed effects model relating demographic covariates and other school characteristics to multiple post-secondary bound graduation rates. In addition, we also utilized machine learning clustering techniques to categorize schools on student demographic data distributions and model the differences in post-secondary bound graduation rates between these groups. We observed that school-wide Title I status (as an indicator for socioeconomic status) had a negative effect on post-secondary bound rates. In addition, there a was positive relationship observed between the proportion of students from Historically Underserved Groups (HUGs) in a school’s student population and post-secondary bound graduation rates. Through our cluster analysis, we found that the race/ethnicity distribution of students in individual schools fell into four categories. Further analysis using the results from the cluster analysis showed the previous relationship between student HUG proportion and post-secondary graduation rates applied only toward schools with a majority Black student population and not schools with a majority Hispanic student population or schools with more diverse student populations. In conclusion, there is evidence the proportion of school’s student population that is historically underserved may affect the post-secondary bound graduation rates of that school, however, this trend may not be similar in schools serving different demographics of students. The results of this analysis justify further quantitative and qualitative research into understanding what school-level qualities influence a student’s access to post-secondary education.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lovelace, Elijahezl3@pitt.eduezl3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorYouk,
Committee MemberBuchanich,
Committee MemberLandsittel,
Committee MemberCarlson,
Date: 30 July 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 April 2020
Approval Date: 30 July 2020
Submission Date: 31 March 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 74
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Biostatistics
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public Schools, Graduation, College Bound, Cluster Analysis, Longitudinal Analysis
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2020 19:05
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2020 19:05


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item