The purpose of this project was to examine modifications to REACT—a student rating scale assessing the classroom environment—to better predict classroom aspects associated with student disengagement. Specifically, the studies examined psychometric properties of student rating items corresponding to unsupportive and unpleasant aspects of the classroom environment within the existing subscales on REACT, as well as items corresponding to perceptions of social interactions and teacher relational support. The studies then examined the extent to which new items and existing items on REACT associated with student reports of engagement and disengagement and student characteristics considered to place students at risk for disengagement. 1160 middle school students completed REACT, along with 36 new items and a measure of engagement and disengagement. Teachers reported data about student characteristics, including gender, Special Education and Section 504 status, achievement in class, social behavior, and class participation for 744 of these students. Study one examined psychometric properties of the new items, including several confirmatory factor analyses to assess the extent to which new items fit with REACT. Results indicated a majority of items constituted a new instrument—CAIRS—corresponding to social aspects of the classroom environment, in contrast to instructional aspects. Regression analyses indicated new items accounted for additional variance in student engagement and disengagement, after controlling for responses on REACT. In Study two, correlation and regression analyses indicated REACT scores exhibited few significant differences relative to different student characteristics. CAIRS scores did exhibit such differences, but effect sizes were small. Implications and future research are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2016. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Theodore Christ. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 1308 pages.
Student-Centered Analyses of Classroom Perceptions and their Prediction of Student Disengagement.
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