Date of Award

5-4-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Miles A. Irving, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ann C. Kruger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bridget V. Dever, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joel Meyers, Ph.D.

Abstract

While there is extensive research on numerous factors that influence students’ academic achievement, there is little research that captures the dimensionality of the learning experience by simultaneously taking into account motivational, psychological and classroom contextual factors. For this study, multiple predictors of academic achievement are assessed for a predominantly Latinx sample. Investigating various configurations of determinants becomes especially important during adolescence, a time when motivation tends to wane with age and grade level (Caprara et al., 2008; Fredricks & Eccles, 2002; Jacobs, Lanza, Osgood, Eccles, & Wigfield, 2002; Watt, 2004). An appraisal of the interplay among the sources of influence can be particularly instructive in identifying unique combinations of determinants that contribute to student achievement and may potentially offer a window of opportunity to put empirically-based findings into practice to improve academic outcomes for students. This study examined ethnicity, English Language Learner (ELL) status, academic self-efficacy, cost value, internalizing risk, and perceived teacher support as predictors of academic achievement. Interactions were also assessed. A hierarchical multiple regression was used to examine the predictive value of ethnicity, ELL status, academic self-efficacy, cost value, internalizing risk, and perceived teacher support on academic achievement within a sample of middle school students (N=1,206). Ethnicity, internalizing risk, and perceived teacher support each predicted academic achievement. While ethnicity and internalizing risk negatively predicted academic achievement, teacher support positively predicted achievement. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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