A longitudinal study of school connectedness and academic outcomes across sixth grade

Kate Niehaus, Kathleen Moritz Rudasill, Christopher R. Rakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current longitudinal study examines the extent to which school connectedness (i.e., students' perceptions of school support and the number of adults with whom they have a positive relationship) is associated with academic outcomes across sixth grade for students from high poverty neighborhoods. Data were collected from 330 sixth-grade students attending two middle schools in a large public school district. Specifically, students completed a survey to assess their perceived connection to the school environment, and academic information regarding students' grades, attendance, and discipline referrals was obtained from school records. Results from latent growth curve modeling showed that, on average, students' perceptions of school support declined significantly across the sixth-grade year. However, students who reported less decline, or growth, in school support across sixth grade had higher academic achievement at the end of the year than students who reported more decline in school support. Sixth-grade boys were at a greater risk for negative outcomes (i.e., lower school support, lower GPAs, and more discipline referrals) across the school year than girls. Results point to the importance of perceived connectedness to school in helping economically disadvantaged students experience a safe and successful transition to middle school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-460
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Academic outcomes
  • High poverty students
  • Latent growth curve modeling
  • Middle school
  • School connectedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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