Too many students leave American high schools unable to read, write, or even do simple math. This academic failure falls disproportionately on students of color. In addition, student academic disengagement is ubiquitous in American schools. In 2004, The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine found that large numbers of American students are not fully engaged intellectually in the teaching and learning enterprise (Marks, 2000). The effects of student disengagement are most severe among minority students, a group which scores lower in achievement and higher in drop-out rates (Voelkl, 1997). Given the disparity between White and Black students in academic achievement and academic engagement, the purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between academic engagement and the achievement of eighth grade students in three suburban middle schools. The study utilizes a post-positivism philosophy given the quantitative methods used to analyze perceived levels of academic engagement of eighth-grade students. The engagement data was then analyzed compared to student academic achievement. In conclusion, the study showed that more engaged students demonstrated higher academic achievement. In addition, the effects of engagement have the ability to reduce the effects of race on academic achievement.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. October 2009. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Dr. Karen Seashore. 1 computer file (PDF); xv, 199 pages, appendices A-I.
Student academic engagement and the academic achievement gap between black and white middle school students: does engagement increase student achievement?.
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