Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Michael A. Owens

Abstract

This study addressed the research question: To what extent do the measures of academic optimism predict academic achievement? The study was conducted in two suburban, adjacent school districts with 102 middle school teachers from five middle schools participating.

A non-experimental, multiple regression research design was used as no treatment or intervention was provided. Data collection tools were a revision of three surveys that purport to measure the three components of academic optimism, and school level outcomes from the Michigan Education Assessment Program and the Measures of Academic Progress. Using Google Forms, data were collected electronically at faculty meetings with submission of the completed survey indicating participants' willingness. Percentages of students scoring at the four levels of the MEAP were obtained from www.mischooldata.org. School composite scores for the five levels of the MAP were obtained from school principals and distributed prior to administering the survey. Data was downloaded into a SPSS file for analysis. The analysis indicated faculty trust in parents and students was most often the statistically significant predictor of students scoring at the advanced/proficient level and the partially proficient/not yet proficient level on MEAP Reading, Math and, Social Studies tests. Academic Emphasis emerged as the statistical predictor for MEAP Science. Faculty trust in parents and students was the statistically significant variable for the percentage of students scoring at the high/high average level and the low average/ low level on MAP Reading and Math. MAP Science results were mixed. None of the predictor variables, collective efficacy, faculty trust in parents and students, or academic emphasis, was statistically significant for the percentage of students scoring at the high/high average level. Faculty trust in students and parents was a statistically significant predictor for the percentage of students scoring at the average level and the low average/low level. None of the predictor variables was statistically significant for the percentage of students scoring at the average level for MAP Reading or MAP Science. Study results indicate that school administrators and teachers must work to build trust with parents and students and create a culture stressing academic excellence as both could help improve student achievement.