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

By Kusum Singh, Mido Chang and Sandra Dika.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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 regression 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

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp.205-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 600.564KB).

Dr. Kusum Singh

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

Kusum Singh is a professor in Educational Research & Evaluation program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech, VA. Her current research interests include social and school factors that affect academic achievement, mathematics and science achievement in high school, social capital and educational outcomes.

Dr. Mido Chang

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

Mido Chang is an assistant professor in Educational Research and Evaluation program in the department of Educational Leadership & Policy studies at Virginia Tech, VA. Her research interests focus on longitudinal models of achievement, effects of early educational interventions and classroom instruction.

Dr. Sandra Dika

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

Sandra Dika is a senior researcher in the Office of Institutional Research at the University of Puerto Rico. Her research interest focus on student assessment, college access and retention of minority students.

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