Characteristics of a sense of belonging and its relationship to academic achievement of students in selected middle school in Region IV and VI Education Service Centers, Texas
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The purpose of this research is to investigate the feeling of belonging that students may or may not have and the relationship of student sense of belonging to the overall academic achievement of a school. Students were surveyed on their sense of belonging in selected middle schools. The students scored themselves on the Psychological Sense of School Membership scale, which revealed an overall mean score of belonging. Students from high-performing schools were compared to students from low-performing schools in regard to their sense of belonging. Additionally, teachers were asked to rate their perception of the students sense of belonging. The teachers scores were compared to the students scores in both high- and low-performing schools. Lastly, teachers were asked to provide qualitative information about the schools role in creating a sense of belonging. An extensive review of the literature regarding sense of belonging reveals support of the importance of sense of belonging in student achievement. There is also extensive evidence regarding variation of sense of belonging among minority groups and the important role of teachers in creating a sense of belonging for students. This study found that there is no significant difference in students reported sense of belonging between high-performing schools and low-performing schools on the Psychological Sense of School Membership scale. There is a significant difference between the teachers perception of the students sense of belonging and the students reported sense of belonging on the Psychological Sense of School Membership scales. Teachers reported important roles in creating an environment of belonging. The qualitative data provided by teachers support evidence from the literature review indicative of schools with sense of belonging. High-performing schools do not report much information regarding discipline and routine as being important parts of creating belonging. However, low performing schools often report these as important to creating a sense of belonging for students. Implications of the research include: Teachers may not have an accurate understanding of students sense of belonging and how to create a sense of belonging in schools. Further study should try to gain better understanding of the relationship between sense of belonging and minority status.
Capps, Matthew Alan (2003). Characteristics of a sense of belonging and its relationship to academic achievement of students in selected middle school in Region IV and VI Education Service Centers, Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from