Contextual risk and protective of early adolescent schooling: predictors of multidimentional student engagement
This study examined the capacity of school risk and protective contextual factors to predict emotional, cognitive and behavioural student engagement. Three hundred and twenty-nine students completed an online survey at the onset and then again near the end of their grade nine school year. Classroom, peer, and school wide contextual conditions (predictor variables), measured at time one predicted components of engagement (criterion variables) at time two. This prospective longitudinal nonexperimental predictive study found that, when examining the total sample, classroom protective factors (Teacher Academic Support, Peer Personal Support and Students’ Perception of Cohesion) were the most predictive of the three dimensions of student engagement examined in this study. When examining subgroups of students–those displaying violent risk behaviour, experiencing low academic success, or suspended within the previous year–additional contextual factors emerged as significant in the prediction of student engagement. Results suggest positive relationships at school are important in the development of student engagement, especially for those students at-risk for disengagement. Consequently, teachers and school administrators should strategically plan for positive peer to peer and teacher to student relationships within learning community classrooms. Providing students with support in developing relationship skills and teachers with training in how to build healthy classroom climates seems essential to school improvement plans.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorHellsten, Laurie; Stelmach, Bonnie
CommitteeRenihan, Pat; Dray, Norm; Kelly, Ivan; Young, Jonathan
Copyright DateSeptember 2011
Student Engagement, Quantitative Methodology, School Risk and Protective Factors