Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational and Counseling Psych

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Brown Wright

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether middle school students’ perceptions of teacher interactions and home-school dissonance are predictors of school attachment. The study sought to determine if there were differences in students’ perceptions of teacher interactions and home-school dissonance based on ethnicity, gender and/or grade level. This investigation is one of the first to explore the association between these variables.

Data for this investigation was obtained from a larger study where surveys were administered to over 800 racially diverse students in grades 6 through 8 in Language Arts classrooms in two public middle schools with diverse student populations. Participants completed the Questionnaire of Teacher Interactions (QTI), the Cultural Discontinuity Between Home and School Scale (CDBHSS) and the School Attachment Questionnaire (SAQ). Based on the study sample, the QTI and SAQ were revalidated and produced new scale structures.

Results of the multiple regressions, multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc tests revealed middle school students’ perceptions of teacher interactions and home-school dissonance significantly predict school attachment. Teacher interactions perceived as critical/passive, pleasant, or demanding were those making significant contributions. Student perceptions of pleasant teacher interactions were the greatest predictor of school attachment. Eighth graders perceived teachers to be more critical/passive than sixth graders. Sixth grade students perceived teachers to be more caring than seventh and eighth grades. Further, results indicated African American students perceived more critical/passive teacher interactions than their Caucasian and Asian American peers.

While results indicate that home-school dissonance is a significant predictor of school attachment, results show that the impact of students’ perceptions of home-school dissonance is minimized when combined with teacher interactions. Implications for administrators, teachers, and university education departments are outlined. Recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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