Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

E. Adrienne Hyle


The movement towards exit exams requirements prior to a student graduating from high school is one of the most prominent developments on the education policy landscape nationwide. Previous research on the impact of exit exams on students' graduation status has presented conflicting results. Some research finds that exit exams have no significant impact on a state's graduation rate, increase the likelihood of high school graduation and that teachers and students have risen to the challenge of higher accountability. But much of the existing literature found evidence that exit exams were associated with increased dropout rates, decreased completion rates, increase enrollment in General Educational Development programs, and decrease the likelihood of graduating high school for low-performing and low-income students. The relationship between students graduating from high school and the exit exam graduation requirement is uncertain and there is insufficient evidence that affirms or refutes the impact of exit exams on high school graduation. Without valid and reliable research, stakeholders such as legislative officials and school administrators will lack pertinent data to determine the effect of exit exams and its impact on high school graduation. This study examined student level data collected from a Texas independent school district located in Tarrant County. The data included demographic such as gender, age, race, cumulative grade point average, Limited English Proficient status, Economically Disadvantaged status, At-Risk status, cumulative course credits, graduation year, and graduation status for every student enrolled in the twelfth grade during the 2003 - 2004 and 2004 - 2005 school years. A series of multinomial logistic regressions were used to draw conclusions from the data. Findings revealed that a statistically significant relationship does not exists for students who did not graduate due to a failed exit exam when comparing students who took TAAS and the TAKS exit exams. Students likely to be successful at completing the exit exam requirement are White, female, 18 years old, has a cumulative grade point average of 3.07 or higher, and who is not economically disadvantaged, at-risk or Limited English Proficient. The findings reveal that there is relationship between a students' age, cumulative grade point average, at-risk, and economically disadvantage status and their graduation status. This would suggest that there is a difference in the graduation status of students based upon the variables. Finally, the results of the study revealed that cumulative grade point average is a strong predictor of graduation status; the higher the cumulative grade point average the more likely a student will graduate from high school.


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington