Investigating the Structure and Process of Academic Emphasis on Student Achievement: A Multi-Level Analysis
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Academic emphasis is used as a predictor of student achievement in this multilevel analysis controlling for student and campus demographics. Academic emphasis represents a desirable characteristic in a school’s overall climate because it embodies the campus’ pursuit of academic excellence. Action theory and social cognitive theory are used to explain the influence of social norms of the organization and their relationship to student academic achievement. The study also investigates the degree to which academic emphasis is associated with the environmental social context of the campus. This study served two purposes. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between campus level academic emphasis and individual student academic achievement. The multi-level analysis allowed the author to control for student race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic and at-risk status as well as the proportion of campus demographics and school size. Secondly, the author conducted a multiple regression analysis to determine the relationship between the level of academic emphasis and the environmental social context of the school. The samples of 10,464 students from the 97 campuses represent some of the largest and most diverse school districts in Texas. From this sample, the author was able to determine academic emphasis is a positive and significant predictor of academic achievement and dampened the effect of student demographics, socioeconomic and at risk status. Students in the schools with the highest level of academic emphasis compared to the school schools with the lowest levels of academic emphasis achieved as many as 39 scaled points higher in math and 20 scaled point more in reading. Furthermore, the multiple regression model used to predict and measure the relationship between the environmental social context of the campus and academic emphasis explained almost 11% of the variance. Academic emphasis is a part of the social context of the school focused on high academic expectations.
Barron, James Bakewell (2014). Investigating the Structure and Process of Academic Emphasis on Student Achievement: A Multi-Level Analysis. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from