Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award
An Analysis of the Relationship between K-12 Public Education Spending and Student Academic Achievement in Iowa [paper, Bolton award version]
Recipient of the 2023 Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award - First Place.
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Year of Award
Open Access Paper
Student academic achievement in Iowa is on the decline (U.S. Department of Education 2022). Some politicians propose increasing public education spending in order to address worrisome trends in academic achievement (Richardson 2022). Prior studies disagree about we whether there is a relationship between school spending and student outcomes (Betts 1995; Card and Krueger 1996; Card and Payne 2002; Coleman et al. 1966; Downes and Figlio 1997; Greenwald et al. 1996; Hanushek 1986; Jackson et al. 2015; Lafortune et al. 2018; Martorell et al. 2016; Miller 2018; Rajpal 1969). The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between K-12 public education spending and student academic achievement in Iowa. This project analyzed data from the past nineteen years to examine the relationship between Iowa's per-pupil expenditure and student outcomes - specifically, 4-year graduation rate, K-8 average daily attendance, math proficiency, and English language arts (ELA)/reading proficiency. Results demonstrate that there is no significant relationship between Iowa's per-pupil expenditure and student academic achievement. While per-pupil expenditure in Iowa has increased over the past nineteen years, student outcomes have not improved. Policymakers and future researchers need to consider why Iowa's student academic achievement is on the decline in order to effectively address the issue.
Award Sponsored by
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
©2023 Lydia Berns-Schweingruber
Berns-Schweingruber, Lydia, "An Analysis of the Relationship between K-12 Public Education Spending and Student Academic Achievement in Iowa [paper, Bolton award version]" (2023). Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award. 4.