Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Zhang, Shengfan

Reader

Chaovalitwongse, Art

Abstract

Teacher pay in Arkansas public schools varies widely from district to district across the state. This pay discrepancy is driven by both the funds available to a district and by how these funds are allocated. There is a standard per student budget given to districts across the state, but this budget can be supplemented by additional property taxes collected on property within a district. This leaves districts with more highly valued property at an advantage. Districts are free to allocate their budget for teacher pay as they see fit, with constraints on number of students per teacher and minimum teacher salary.

This research has two main objectives: 1) investigate what variables affect student performance in Arkansas public schools and 2) determine the cost-effectiveness associated with changing possible decision variables in terms of improving student performance. The objectives were achieved by using public data available through the Arkansas Department of Education. Objective 1 was accomplished using feature selection and predictive modeling. Objective 2 integrated the results found from the first objective with district budget information in order to analyze the cost-effectiveness of different district budget policies. Results from this study are valuable to districts trying to improve student performance in the most cost-effective way.

Keywords

Arkansas, Education, Teacher, Salary, Funding, Performance

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