Student sense of belonging and the middle school model

Author:
Arnold, Robert Joseph, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Advisors:
Duke, Daniel, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, James, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Burbach, Harold, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether significant relationships existed between organizational elements of the Middle School Model and Sense of Belonging levels. The theoretical framework proposed that there was a relationship between Student Sense of Belonging which has an impact on student achievement and the organizational structures of the Middle School Model. These structures include Interdisciplinary Teaming, Student Advisory programs, and Common Teacher Planning.

This quantitative, exploratory study used survey methodology from a sample of eighth grade students in Virginia middle schools. The study employed Carol Goodenow's Psychological Sense of School Membership Survey (PSSM) to determine each student's sense of belonging level and a Middle School Model Scale to determine how closely each school adhered to the Middle School Model. The PSSM provided total levels of belonging along with three sub-scale categories: Perceived Likeness and Inclusion, Feeling Encouraged to Participate, and General Feeling of Belonging. Data from 353 students in eight middle schools was analyzed by using the Pearson Product Correlation Test to determine the relationship strength between variables. These values were then analyzed to determine statistical significance.

Results from this study indicate that no statistically significant relationships were found between Student Sense of Belonging and its three subscale categories and the organizational elements of the Middle School Model. Review of the data did, however, produce patterns that indicate schools that scored at the top and bottom of the Middle School Model Scale had higher Sense of Belonging Scores than schools that scored in the middle of the scale. These patterns suggest that further study may lead to findings of more significant relationships between the studied variables.

Degree:
EDD (Doctor of Education)
Language:
English
Rights:
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date:
2012