Relationships among belongingness, behavioral and environmental factors, and academic achievement

Date

2012-05

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Abstract

This study used data collected from seniors at a large public high school in the state of Mississippi to examine the predictors that are related to high school seniors’ perceptions of their sense of belonging and their perceptions of how the predictors influence their academic achievement. The same variables were also used to examine the predictors on seniors’ perceptions across race and gender. Finally, the predictor variable’s influence on academic achievement was measured using sense of belonging as a mediating variable. Eight multiple regression analyses were conducted. These eight regression analyses used the forward regression method to enter the variables as predictors for sense of belonging and academic achievement. The final analysis used Baron and Kenny’s procedure to test for mediation. Specifically, mediation was also test using the MAP test which determined if sense of belonging served as a full mediating variable or a partial mediating one.
The results indicated that teacher, peer, student, and environmental factors independently did not significantly influence student perceptions of his/her academic achievement. The predictor variables teacher behaviors, peer behaviors, and environmental factors did significantly influence student perceptions of his/her sense of belonging. Gender was a significant predictor of student perceptions of his/her sense of belonging as females were more likely to be influenced by their perceptions of their sense of belonging than males. vii. Regarding race, race was not a significant predictor of student perceptions of their sense of belonging. Finally, sense of belonging served as a partial mediator among peer, teacher, environmental factors and academic achievement.
The findings of this study provide information to educators, researchers, parents, teacher, and policy makers. The findings indicate that student perceptions of teacher, peer, and environmental factors independently influence their perceptions of their sense of belonging. The predictor variables as a whole do significantly influence student perceptions of their level of academic achievement, yet none of the predictor variables independently influence student perceptions of their level of academic achievement. Teachers, administrators, and parents need to be aware of how student perceptions of their sense of belonging influence their motivation to achieve academically, especially among females. Teachers also need to be sensitive to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds whose level of academic motivation and academic achievement sometimes is not as strong compared to other pupils from middle and higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Limitations and future research are also discussed.

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Keywords

Education, secondary, Mississippi, Belonging (Social psychology)

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