Purpose: This study aims to assess the impact of social disorganization indicators (i.e., employment, median-household income, owner-occupied housing, crime, poverty, and minority percentage) on academic performance (i.e., GPA) for 6th and 7th-grade students attending seven K-8 designated Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in central Florida. Methods: A hot spot cluster analysis was used to identify areas where high and low GPA clustering occurs based on the individual block level GPA data obtained from OCPS. Visual map comparison of cluster results and social disorganization indicators were used to understand if high GPA cluster outcomes occur in areas of social disorganization. Moreover, OLS regression was used to identify which social disorganization variables are statistically significant with GPA outcomes. The ArcGIS online platform was used to conduct the cluster analysis and compare the cluster results to each independent variable. Results: Cluster analysis at the block level revealed that low GPA outcomes (2.14-2.61) cluster in areas where social disorganization is present, while high GPA outcomes (3.09-3.89) cluster in predominantly white wealthy neighborhoods. OLS regression results revealed that poverty has a negative relationship with GPA where for every unit increase in poverty, there is a .66 decrease in GPA outcomes. Additionally, a positive relationship between employment and GPA was found where for every unit increase in employment there is a 2.79 increase in GPA outcomes. Conclusion: Political and service intervention are needed to mitigate the impact poverty, income, owner-occupied housing, crime, and employment has on student academic performance. Consequently, policies need to address the social condition concerns experienced by minority students residing in areas of concentrated poverty. Social service programs should begin utilizing geographical tools to better understand areas requiring the most service and tailor interventions based on which social disorganization indicators are most concentrated. The results of this study contribute to the discourse on ways to mitigate the effects associated with external school factors as it pertains to academic success for 6th and 7th-graders. Results are intended to inform educators, social service agencies, and policymakers. This study aspires to add to the discourse on ways to break down barriers that limit student participation in academia.


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Graduation Date





Anderson, Kim


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences


School of Public Administration

Degree Program

Public Affairs; Social Work









Release Date

August 2021

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


UCF Downtown

Included in

Social Work Commons