Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership & Policy Studies

Committee Chair

Charisse Gulosino

Committee Member

Todd Zoblotsky

Committee Member

Dustin Hornbeck

Committee Member

Sharon Griffin


This study looks closely at geography in education and the impact it has on the schools in Memphis, Tennessee. The location of a school can directly correlates with how successful the school will be- both with proficient test scores as well as funding and support from community stakeholders. Specific schools in Tennessee receive Tennessee Accountability School Designations (TASD). These designations are given to the highest and lowest-performing K-12 public schools in Tennessee. Memphis is Tennessee’s largest school district with a list of 36 schools who received a TASD for low-performing; while on the contrary, 44 schools earned a TASD for being high-performing. In Memphis, there are a variety of school types: Ranging from public charter to public neighborhood to municipality schools, all serving students within a few miles of each other. Schools who are assigned TASD titles each year are based on their performance on the state’s mandated test, Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), as well as other factors. This study uses a multi-methods approach through a spatial data analysis (studying location of schools and their neighborhood characteristics) from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a logistic regression to examine 231 public K-12 schools and their school designations in unison with their social, economic, and academic make-up. With this research, many variables came into play that influenced the findings. Memphis Shelby County Schools Demerger is discussed as playing a pivotal role in the city’s education system. While looking holistically at the city’s majority of schools, this research aimed to enhance the correlation between underserved communities and poor test scores as well as privileged communities and proficient test scores. The study aims to find spatial associations and patterns between schools that perform above average and compares those schools to others in the area performing below average. Additionally, this study looks at the social and economic advantages and disadvantages of the geographic neighborhood in which they are located. The research includes different socio-economic, demographic and school-like characteristics that are utilized in a logistic regression to predict school designation outcomes. By using the theoretical lens of geography in education, the research in this study enhances the clear disparities among low-income schools and the factors which influence low performance from surrounding neighborhood characteristics.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access