School Engagement and School Learning: Ethnicity, Self Concept, School Belonging

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The purpose of the present study is to assess the effects of self-concept and school belonging on school engagement and school learning among high school students. More specifically, the study examines the relationships among the socio-cultural school-related constructs (self-concept and school belonging) to school engagement and how school engagement, in turn, affects school achievement in a series of causal path models. In addition, ethnicity-based differences in the effects of self concept and school belonging on school engagement and achievement were analyzed to determine if the effects are similar or differ by ethnicity. There is a consistent and considerable gap in academic achievement between African-American and Caucasian-American students. Yet few empirical studies have explored the relationship and effects of these constructs on school engagement and achievement simultaneously and across ethnic groups. The final models are based on a total sample of 373 with 210 Caucasian-American and 163 African-American students. Our results show that while school engagement is vital for achievement for both groups, the process of development of school engagement is affected differentially by these socio-cultural constructs. For example, we found that school belonging is a significant factor in school engagement and achievement for African American students while self concept has no significant link with achievement. This pattern was reversed for Caucasian students. The findings have theoretical and practical significance.


Keywords: Self-Concept, School Belonging, School Engagement, School Learning, High School Students
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , School Engagement and School Learning


Dr. Kusum Singh

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Virginia Tech
Blackburgs, Virginia, USA

Dr. Kusum Singh is a professor in Educational Research and Evaluation program at Virginia Tech. Her current research interests focus on social and cognitive factors in educational achievement, school and family environments that affect math and science learning.

Dr. Mido Chang

Assistant Professor, Educational Research and Evaluation, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA, USA


Dr. Sandra Dika

Institutional Researcher, University of Puerto Rico
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, USA


Ref: L08P0561