Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Desportes

Degree Award Date

Spring 2005


Socioeconomic Background, Academic Achievement, free reduced lunch program, Virginia Standards of Learning tests, special education students


Comparative Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology | Social Psychology


The relationship between socioeconomic status and educational outcomes has been the subject of much interest. The current research provides a unique approach to studying this relationship. Participants were chosen from one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school in rural northwestern Virginia. The variable of socioeconomic status was represented by enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program. The variable of academic achievement was represented by special education status and scores on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Results indicated that student enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program does, in fact, appear to impact the child's success in school. Students enrolled in free/reduced lunch were generally more likely to be in the special education program and were generally more likely to have failed the SOLs. Discussion of these results as well as limitations and suggestions for future research are presented.