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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl L. Somers

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between multiple intrapersonal, microsystem, and macrosystem factors. The predictor variable was academic achievement. The theoretical model used was Bronfenbrenners’ Ecological Systems Theory and Bandura’s Social Learning Theory.

Participants in this study were ninth to twelfth grade high school students from a charter school that catered to students from urban and suburban backgrounds (N = 312). Students were from various socioeconomic backgrounds but primarily of African American and Latino descent. The students were asked to complete several surveys assessing their demographics and the variables grouped by their ecological contexts as follows: Intrapersonal Variables (1) Academic Self-efficacy; (2) Academic Engagement; (3) Intrinsic Value for Learning; (4) Goal-oriented self-regulation; Microsystem Variables: (1) Parents Pro-Educational Attitudes, (2) Peers Academic Orientation, (3) School Climate, (4) Neighborhood Structure and the Mesosystem Variable (1) Parent-teacher/ parent-school communication. Academic Risk Behaviors were also assessed. The data analysis approach was consistent with Ecological Systems Theory.

Results of the current study suggest that the intrapersonal factors of self-efficacy and academic engagement are most predictive of academic achievement, while the microsystem variable of parental pro-educational attitudes towards education also significantly predicted academic achievement. A moderation analysis revealed that when schools provide meaningful opportunities for participation for students, students tended to generally have higher academic engagement, while living in a family with higher SES boosted that relationship. All analyses were controlled for differences in SES, ethnicity, and grade. One unexpected finding was that the differences among variables existed by grade. Meaning and significance of results were discussed.

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