Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Keith Hembree



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Chair

Michelle Brasfield

Committee Member

Stephen A Zanskas

Committee Member

Pamela A Cogdal

Committee Member

Leigh M Harrell-Williams


This study aimed to investigate the relationships, if any, between Ready to Graduate indicator, average ACT scores, chronic absenteeism rates, and school counselor to student ratios in Tennessee's four urban counties surrounding Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Only eight of Tennessee's 95 counties have a population that is at least 75% urban, according to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations 2016 Report. The existence of segregated schools inside urban regions and the opportunity gap suggests that more research and data about Tennessee's urban communities are needed, especially in relation to graduation rates. The data analyzed for this study was downloaded from the Tennessee State Report Card located on the Tennessee Department of Education’s Website. The four urban counties of Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Shelby were picked in order to shed light on areas of Tennessee for which there isn't much current literature available outside of the Tennessee State Report Card. Research on school counseling ratios is abundant, with a focus on test scores and performance; on the other hand, less is known about the variables associated with high school graduation rates and students' preparedness for postsecondary education and careers. There are several studies on school counseling ratios that are currently being conducted, however only a few of them concentrate on Tennessee and none look of them look at the state's ready-to-graduate rates. For this study, the American School Counselor Association National Model will be used as a guide and is used to explain how services and resources affect school counseling, which could then have an impact on high school graduation rates. Therefore, by determining if these four variables have an impact on graduation rates, this study aimed to give information to assist school counselors in improving their programming readiness towards college and career readiness. The goal of this study is to close this gap by giving school counselors important knowledge about the impact ratios may have on graduation rates and how to effectively manage their time going forward, when students need us now more than ever due to the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access