Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Social Work

Major Professor

William Rowe, D.S.W.

Co-Major Professor

Lisa Rapp-Paglicci, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chris Stewart, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.


educational outcomes, school related factors, ecological perspective, cumulative risk, additive risk, ROC Curve Analysis


The impact of school factors on academic achievement has become an important focus for school social work and revealed the need for a comprehensive school social work model that allows for the identification of critical areas to apply social work services. This study was designed to develop and test a more comprehensive school social work model. Specifically, the relationship between cumulative grade point average (GPA) and the cumulative risk index (CRI) and an additive risk index (ARI) were tested and a comparison of the two models was presented. Over 20,000 abstracts were reviewed in order to create a list of factors which have been shown in previous research to impact academic achievement. These factors were divided into the broad domains of personal factors, family factors, peer factors, school factors, and neighborhood or community factors. Factors that were placed under the school domain were tested and those factors which met all three criteria were included in the overall model. Consistent with previous research, both the CRI and ARI were shown to be related to cumulative GPA. As the number of risk factors increased, GPA decreased. After a discussion of the results, a case was made for the use of an additive risk index approach fitting more with the current state of social work. In addition, selecting cutoff points for determining risk and non-risk students was accomplished using an ROC analysis. Finally, implications for school social work practice on the macro-, meso-, and micro- levels were discussed.