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ERIC Number: ED515167
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 300
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7625-9
A Quantitative and Qualitative Investigation of Variability and Contextual Sources Related to the Academic Engagement of Minority and Economically Disadvantaged Adolescents
Schilling, Joan Carlin
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
Research consistently has indicated that academic achievement outcomes for most minority students, and for students from economically impoverished backgrounds, are marginal as compared with the achievement of their Asian and Caucasian classmates and of individuals with higher socio-economic status (STS). Academic engagement has been linked to academic achievement. This study is one of the few to empirically investigate the academic engagement experiences of adolescents from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and to examine related contextual antecedents. A quantitative and qualitative research design guided this investigation. The primary purpose of this exploratory and descriptive study was to: (1) examine minority and/or economically disadvantaged adolescents' perceptions of their academic engagement experiences and of contextual factors within their classroom learning environment; (2) explore whether and how adolescents from diverse backgrounds differ in regard to their academic engagement experiences; and (3) investigate the effect of select classroom contextual factors--specifically teacher and peer interpersonal relationships--on minority and/or low-income adolescents' academic engagement. Sixty ninth-grade students, largely from minority and/or low-income backgrounds, participated in the study. Academic engagement was defined multi-dimensionally in terms of behavior, affect and cognition. Data sources included a researcher created survey, classroom observations and interviews with seven participants. Data from the survey were subjected to cluster, inferential and descriptive statistical techniques while interview transcripts and observation notes were textually analyzed. Participants varied in terms of how they experienced academic engagement behaviorally, emotionally and cognitively. Five profiles, or clusters, representing different manifestations of academic engagement were created and explicated: The Highly Academically Engaged, The Moderately Academically Engaged, The Distracted, The Disaffected and the Disconnected. Students' perceptions of the influence of teacher and classroom peer relationships on academic engagement also were investigated. Analysis reveals many participants equated academic guidance with teacher care and concern and this view affected academic engagement. Minority adolescents may blur distinctions between different types of teacher support, perceiving unhelpful teachers us uncaring and vice versa. Classroom peer relationships acted as a challenge rather than a resource for students becoming or staying academically engaged. Assisting students to cultivate pro-academic identities within a positive social context thus may enhance academic engagement. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A