Jamie L. Steiner
Dissertation Defense
July 21, 2011
Dr. Ronald Valenti, Dissertation Chair
Dr. Christopher Griffin, Commit...
Presentation Agenda












Overview of the Research Problem
Purpose of the Study
Review of Relevant Literatu...
Research Problem
President Barack Obama has set a new national goal that by the year 2020 America
will once again have the...
Purpose of the Study
To identify whether a
relationship exists
between 8th grade
student sense of
belonging and collegegoi...
Need for the Study
By 2012 53% of jobs in the US will require
post-secondary education and training
(National Governors As...
Why College, MS, and Belonging?
College

Career

Middle School

Belonging

13% of adults
had attended
college in 1974.
28%...
Theoretical Context

Maslow
(1962)

Herzberg
(1968)

Noddings
(1992)

Hanifan
(1916)

Jamie Steiner

7
Literature on Post-Secondary
Planning in MS
Interventions should begin no later than 7th
grade and continue throughout HS ...
Literature on Post-Secondary Planning
for the Under-represented Student


Minority students indicated that they planned t...
Literature on Role of the School
Counselor


To work collaboratively in developing a consistent and
“personalized school ...
Literature on the Role of the
Teacher


Before children feel connected to their school, they
must first develop a genuine...
Literature on the Role of School
Leadership


Promote collaborative work with all school personnel,
offering adequate tra...
Research Questions
1.

2.

3.
4.
5.

Does a relationship exist between eighth grade students’
sense of belonging in school...
Method of the Study
Mixed Methods research study

2 surveys (PSSM & CGSES)
administered to total population
of 8th grade (...
Survey and Focus Group Questions










“I feel like a real part of ABC MS.”
“There’s at least one teacher or
ad...
Study Sample
Average GPA = 85

41%
Hispanic/Latino

46% male

54% female

45% White

44% receive
free/reduced
lunch

N= 18...
Data Analysis
Survey data entered into SPSS 16.0

Composite scores calculated from each
survey, Pearson Correlation Coeffi...
Research Question 1 – Does a
relationship exist?




There was a positive
correlation as measured by
Pearson at .466 at ...
Results
N= 184


30-120
 Average Score – 95.49
 Free Lunch – 90.44
 Full Pay – 99.38
 Male – 94.25
 Female – 96.57
...
Research Question 2 – Demographics
Quantitative

Qualitative

Meta-Inference
(Creswell & Clark 2010)

A significant differ...
College-Going Self-Efficacy

Jamie Steiner

21
Research Question 3 – HS & Post-Secondary
Planning

Fear of
Unknown
Financial
Planning Info.
Needed

More
Independence

...
Question 3 (continued) – College
planning information

Jamie Steiner

23
Research Question 4 – Sense of
Belonging at School
“There needs to be
something that makes you
want to come to this
school...
Research Question 5
Recommendations
• Advisory program
• Parent outreach

• Leadership
• High expectations
for all

• Work...
Delimitations

Jamie Steiner

26
Logical Model
HS
Diploma/Enroll
in College
College-Going
Beliefs and
Confidence
Academic Beliefs and
Confidence

Academic ...
Summary/Future Research
Mixed Methods Study

Quantitative

Qualitative

Advisory

Guidance
Curriculum

Family
Partnerships...
Questions/Discussion

Jamie Steiner

29
References
ACT (2008) The forgotten middle: Ensuring that all students are on target for college and career readiness befo...
References
Great Schools Staff (2010). A Middle School Parent's College Prep Guide. Retrieved from
http://www.greatschools...
References
National Governors Association. (2010, August). Setting statewide college- and career-ready goals (Issue Brief)...
References
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grou...
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The Relationship between student sense of belonging and college-going beliefs at a diverse middle school in New York

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Although there is an abundance of research on middle school counseling, college readiness and belonging, there is a gap in the research regarding middle school students
and attempts to correlate their sense of belonging to college-going beliefs. Research identifies eighth grade as a critical time in a student’s education in which they make
important post-secondary decisions. The research stressed that a student’s academic achievement was not only influenced by intellectual abilities, but by their school climate. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify a correlation between school- based factors, specifically a student’s sense of belonging, and college-going beliefs. One hundred eighty-four eighth-grade students from a diverse suburban middle school were
surveyed on their college-going beliefs as well as their sense of belonging. In addition, focus groups were facilitated to further explore how students felt about their school environment and post-secondary planning. The findings showed a significant statistical correlation between students’ sense of school belonging and college-going beliefs. This is significant because it begins to address the void in the research identifying how school
based factors are related to students’ college-going beliefs. Focus group data also enhanced quantitative findings by highlighting how students who described a positive sense of belonging in school had strong intentions and higher confidence for attending college after high school. The results of this research will help educators improve programs, develop stronger relationships with students and strengthen the curriculum to better prepare students for high school and beyond.

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The Relationship between student sense of belonging and college-going beliefs at a diverse middle school in New York

  1. 1. Jamie L. Steiner Dissertation Defense July 21, 2011 Dr. Ronald Valenti, Dissertation Chair Dr. Christopher Griffin, Committee Member St. John Fisher College at The College of New Rochelle
  2. 2. Presentation Agenda          Overview of the Research Problem Purpose of the Study Review of Relevant Literature Methodology Data Analysis Findings Delimitations Recommendations Summary Jamie Steiner 2
  3. 3. Research Problem President Barack Obama has set a new national goal that by the year 2020 America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world – American Graduation Initiative (James, 2009). The US used to lead the world in the number of 25-34 year-olds with a college degree. Now it ranks 12th among developed nations. 27% have a college degree. High income students are 8 times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree by 24. Asian-Americans hold the highest percentage of degrees (50.1 percent), followed by whites (37.6 percent), African Americans (25.4 percent) and Latinos (9.8 percent). (NYTIMES.COM) While there is an abundance of literature on academic achievement and sense of belonging, there is a gap in the research regarding middle school students and attempts to correlate their sense of belonging to college readiness. 92% of seventh and eighth graders reported they were likely to attend college, yet 68% had little or no information regarding which classes to take to prepare for it (Great Schools Staff, 2010). “When children feel they belong and find their realities reflected in the curriculum and conversations of schooling, research demonstrated repeatedly that they are more engaged in learning and that they experience greater school success” (Shields, 2004, p. 122). Jamie Steiner 3
  4. 4. Purpose of the Study To identify whether a relationship exists between 8th grade student sense of belonging and collegegoing beliefs at this particular middle school. College-Going SelfEfficacy/Beliefs – confidence in one’s ability to pursue and complete college (Gibbons, 2005). Belonging – Feeling “personally accepted, respected, included and supported” (Capps, 2003, p. 4). Jamie Steiner 4
  5. 5. Need for the Study By 2012 53% of jobs in the US will require post-secondary education and training (National Governors Association, 2010).  College graduates are earning twice as much as high school graduates (NGA, 2010).  In 2006, the national average for students continuing to college directly from high school was 61.6% (National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis, 2010). The rates for certain subgroups of this population were even lower, particularly first-generation students, students from low-income households, and certain ethnic minorities (Lohfink & Paulsen, 2005).  Perceptions of high school drop outs often described school as an uncaring environment which contributed to them dropping out (Altenbaugh, Engel, & Martin, 1995).   Students who felt positive about their school environment during middle school, reduced their dropout chances in as much as half (Alexander, Entwistle & Kabani, 2001).  High school students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who consistently received post-secondary advisement from their counselor had more definitive plans to attend college (King, 1996). College/Career Sense of Belonging Jamie Steiner 5
  6. 6. Why College, MS, and Belonging? College Career Middle School Belonging 13% of adults had attended college in 1974. 28% had in 2004(US Census Bureau, 2010). Unemployment rates for individuals without college training have doubled in one year (National Governors Association, 2010) The level of academic progress achieved by 8th grade may have a larger impact on college readiness than progress achieved in high school (ACT, 2008). A caring teacher, counselor and/or administrator was influential to a student’s personal and academic growth even above issues of family and peers (Nichols, 2006; Osterman, 2000; Wentzel, 1997). Jamie Steiner 6
  7. 7. Theoretical Context Maslow (1962) Herzberg (1968) Noddings (1992) Hanifan (1916) Jamie Steiner 7
  8. 8. Literature on Post-Secondary Planning in MS Interventions should begin no later than 7th grade and continue throughout HS (Gibbons, 2005; Oesterreich, 2000; Radcliffe & Stephens, 2008).  The US Department of Education, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of College Admission Counseling recommend students begin in 6th grade.  Jamie Steiner 8
  9. 9. Literature on Post-Secondary Planning for the Under-represented Student  Minority students indicated that they planned to attend college (85%). However, the average college-going placement was 37% (Johnson & Perkins, 2009). In another study of career and college needs of a diverse group of 9th graders, 73% reported an intention to attend college, but the placement for the district was only 48% (Gibbons, Borders, Wiles, Stephan, & Davis, 2006).  The path to college for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds has been described as “hazardous”, “perilous” and “unfair” (Radcliffe & Stephens, 2008). Lowincome, academically prepared high school graduates scoring at the top of their class are attending college at the same rate as high-income graduates in the bottom quartile of their class (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 2001). The lowincome student must come up with nearly 72% of their family income in order to fund their college education (middle class students: 27%, and high-income students: 14%, Lynch, Engle & Cruz, 2011).  Educational partnerships, high-quality teaching and further research has been recommended to increase the likelihood of Hispanic students enrolling in college (Yamamura, Martinez & Saenz, 2010). Mentoring, technology access, campus visits, parent involvement and tutoring were recommended in order to increase the college readiness skills of at-risk 8th graders (Radcliffe & Stephens, 2008). Jamie Steiner 9
  10. 10. Literature on Role of the School Counselor  To work collaboratively in developing a consistent and “personalized school experience” that helps all students realize how the transition into high school connects to the transition to college and work (Kemple, Herlihy, & Smith, 2005).  Playing a crucial role in identifying college aspirations, academic planning for college, extracurricular engagement, college and career exploration, college and career assessment, college affordability planning and transition planning from middle to high school and college enrollment (Burtnett, 2010).  Data should be used by counselors to identify inequities, “develop measurable goals, inform practice and demonstrate accountability within the key components” (Dimmitt, Carey & Hatch, 2007, p. 3). Jamie Steiner 10
  11. 11. Literature on the Role of the Teacher  Before children feel connected to their school, they must first develop a genuine, caring relationship with their teacher (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).Caring teachers are described as being “involved, polite and concerned” (Bosworth, 1995).  There was a significant positive correlation between a student’s perceived caring from his/her teachers and student academic effort (Wentzel, 1997).  Students from minority and low-income backgrounds relied heavily on their teachers in making postsecondary plans (Bloom, 2007; Stanton-Salazar & Dornbusch, 1995; Hill, 2008). Jamie Steiner 11
  12. 12. Literature on the Role of School Leadership  Promote collaborative work with all school personnel, offering adequate training and support that promotes high expectations and high standards for all students.  Have a responsibility in creating a college-going culture. Outline how the program will impact the school and what is expected from the faculty. Everyone must be kept informed, accountable and “focused on the same goal, and speaking the same college language” (College Board, 2006, p. 6).  Begin to “shift the school from one whose goal is that students graduate from high school to one where students continue their education after high school” (Smyth, 2006). Jamie Steiner 12
  13. 13. Research Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Does a relationship exist between eighth grade students’ sense of belonging in school and their college-going selfefficacy at this diverse, suburban public school? Are there significant differences between demographic groups in both sense of belonging in school and collegegoing self-efficacy (i.e. ethnicity/race, gender and socioeconomic status)? What do eighth graders say they know and say they need to know about post-secondary planning? How do eighth graders describe factors related to their sense of belonging in their school climate? Based on the results of this mixed methods research, what interventions can school counselors and other educators implement to better prepare middle school students for the transition to high school and beyond? Jamie Steiner 13
  14. 14. Method of the Study Mixed Methods research study 2 surveys (PSSM & CGSES) administered to total population of 8th grade (N=205) 4 focus groups facilitated (n=20) 18 F, 2 M; 6W, 10H, 1B, 1A, 2M; 9ELL; 11Free Lunch Jamie Steiner 14
  15. 15. Survey and Focus Group Questions        “I feel like a real part of ABC MS.” “There’s at least one teacher or adult in this school I can talk to if I have a problem.” “People here notice when I’m good at something.” “I can get accepted to a college.” “I can choose the high school classes needed to get into a good college.” “I can find a way to pay for college.” “I can make an educational plan that will prepare me for college”.  Examples of Survey Questions Examples of Focus Group Questions What do you like about ABC middle school?  Who can you talk to in school if you are having a problem?  Have you ever been to a college campus?  What, besides good grades is needed to get into a college? Jamie Steiner 15
  16. 16. Study Sample Average GPA = 85 41% Hispanic/Latino 46% male 54% female 45% White 44% receive free/reduced lunch N= 184 8th grade students in 1 ms, in 1 County, in 1 State Jamie Steiner 16
  17. 17. Data Analysis Survey data entered into SPSS 16.0 Composite scores calculated from each survey, Pearson Correlation Coefficient or the Pearson r Focus Groups, recorded, transcribed, coded to identify themes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Triangulate Methods/Complement Data – one population, two methods to collect and enrich data Jamie Steiner 17
  18. 18. Research Question 1 – Does a relationship exist?   There was a positive correlation as measured by Pearson at .466 at the .01 significance level. COLLEGE Correlation If this study was repeated with a similar population, you could predict with 99% confidence that there would be a positive correlation (Siegle, 2009). N 184 BELONG Correlation Pearson 1.000 .466** Sig. (2-tailed) .000 184 Pearson .466** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .000 N 184 184 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Jamie Steiner 18
  19. 19. Results N= 184  30-120  Average Score – 95.49  Free Lunch – 90.44  Full Pay – 99.38  Male – 94.25  Female – 96.57  Hispanic – 91.17  White – 98.51  18-90  Average Score – 58.79  Free Lunch – 57.24  Full Pay – 59.99  Male – 57.66  Female – 59.77  Hispanic – 57.78  White – 59.65 CGSES PSSM Jamie Steiner 19
  20. 20. Research Question 2 – Demographics Quantitative Qualitative Meta-Inference (Creswell & Clark 2010) A significant difference was noted between female college-going self-efficacy and race at the .014 level. In addition, there was not a significant correlation between female Hispanic college-going beliefs and sense of belonging in school (this was noted at the .216 level in Table 4.16) Through one focus group interview with a group of Hispanic Females, the following themes emerged regarding college and belonging: Emphasis on family messages about school, peer support contributing to sense of belonging rather “You try your best and than relationships with they fail you.” educators, and an “Your friends make overall lack of you feel you belong.” knowledge about “I’m nervous about HS HS/college planning and not getting into college”. “Mom says college depends on everything.” “I have not heard about college or HS requirements.” Jamie Steiner 20
  21. 21. College-Going Self-Efficacy Jamie Steiner 21
  22. 22. Research Question 3 – HS & Post-Secondary Planning  Fear of Unknown Financial Planning Info. Needed More Independence  Need Class on PostSecondary Planning Importance of Extracurricular Activities  Messages from Family  Need More Information (transcript, gpa)  Themes “Who knows where I am going to be at that time.” “My family says that college is a lot of work.” “I always ask my family about college.” “No one has gone over HS and college requirements”. “I have not heard about college.” Quotes Jamie Steiner 22
  23. 23. Question 3 (continued) – College planning information Jamie Steiner 23
  24. 24. Research Question 4 – Sense of Belonging at School “There needs to be something that makes you want to come to this school.”  “You can tell which teachers care and which really don’t.”  “Most kids feel like they belong here.”  “We have people who we care about and who care about us.”  Belonging Listened to and Understood Believes in Us Feeling cared about Treated w/ Respect Interaction w/Educators Interaction w/ Peers Themes Quotes Jamie Steiner 24
  25. 25. Research Question 5 Recommendations • Advisory program • Parent outreach • Leadership • High expectations for all • Workshops • Conferences Relationship Development College-Going Culture Professional Development • “Community of Respect” • Presentations • Discussions Mission • Classroom lessons • Individual advisement • Parent info. sessions Guidance Curriculum Jamie Steiner 25
  26. 26. Delimitations Jamie Steiner 26
  27. 27. Logical Model HS Diploma/Enroll in College College-Going Beliefs and Confidence Academic Beliefs and Confidence Academic Achievement/Engagement Sense of Belonging in School Jamie Steiner 27
  28. 28. Summary/Future Research Mixed Methods Study Quantitative Qualitative Advisory Guidance Curriculum Family Partnerships Jamie Steiner 28
  29. 29. Questions/Discussion Jamie Steiner 29
  30. 30. References ACT (2008) The forgotten middle: Ensuring that all students are on target for college and career readiness before high school. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. (2001). Access Denied. Washington, DC: Author. Alexander, K., Entwistle, D., and Kabbani, N. (2001). The dropout process in life course perspective: Early risk factors at home and school. Teachers college record, 103(5), 760-822. Altenbaugh, R.J., Engel, D.E. & Martin, D.T. (1995). Caring for kids: A critical study of urban school leavers. London: Falmer Press. Angus, L. (2006). Educational leadership and the imperative of including student voices, student interests, and students' lives in the mainstream. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9, 4, 369-379. Bloom, J. (2007). Misreading social class in the journey toward college: Youth development in urban America. Teachers College Record, 109(2), 343-368. Bosworth, K. (1995). Caring for others and being cared for: Students talk caring in school. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 686-693. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Burtnett, F. (2010). Improving students' career and college readiness. Counseling Today, 53(4), 42-43. Capps, Matthew A. (2003). Characteristics of a sense of belonging and its relationship to academic achievement of students in selected middle schools in Region IV and VI educational service centers, Texas. Ph.D. dissertation, Texas A&M University, United States -- Texas. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from Dissertations & Theses: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection.(Publication No. AAT 3156745). College Board (2010). Cracking the Student Aid Code. Retrieved from http://advocacy.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/11b_3172_Cracking_Code_Update_WEB_110112.pdf Creswell, J.W. & Clark, V.P. (2010). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Dimmitt, C., Carey, J., & Hatch, T., (2007). Evidence-based school counseling. Making a difference with data-driven practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Gibbons, M., Borders, L., Wiles, M., Stephan, J., & Davis, P. (2006). Career and college planning needs of ninth graders – as reported by ninth graders. Professional School Counseling, 10(2), 168-178. Goodenow, C. (1993). The psychological sense of school membership among adolescents: scale development and educational correlates. Journal of Psychology in the Schools, 30, 79-90. Jamie Steiner 30
  31. 31. References Great Schools Staff (2010). A Middle School Parent's College Prep Guide. Retrieved from http://www.greatschools.org/college-prep/planning/middle-school-parents-college-prep-guide.gs?content=594 Hanifan, L. J. (1916). The rural school community center. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (67): 130–138. Herzberg, F. (1968). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, (JanuaryFebruary), 53-62. Hill, L.D. (2008). School strategies and the college-linking process: Reconsidering the effects of high schools on college enrollment. Sociology of Education, 81(1), 53-76. James, F. (2009, February 25). Obama puts spotlight on education deficit. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com Johnson, A., & Perkins, G. (2009). What we know about at-risk students: Important considerations for principal and counselor leadership. NASSP Bulletin, 93, 122-134. Kemple, J., Herlihy, C.& Smith, T. J. (2005). Making progress toward graduation: evidence from the talent development high school model. New York: MDRC. King, J. E. (1996). The decision to go to college: Attitudes and experiences associated with college attendance among low-income students. Washington, D.C.: The College Board. Lohfink, M. M., & Paulsen, M. B. (2005). Comparing the determinants of persistence for first-generation and continuing-generation students. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 409-428. Lynch, M., Engle, J., & Cruz, J.L. (2011). Priced out: How the wrong financial-aid policies hurt low-income students. Retrieved from Education Trust website: http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/PricedOutFINAL2.0_0.pdf National Association for College Admission Counseling. (1999). PACT: Parents And Counselors Together Program. Alexandria, VA: Author. National Association of Secondary School Principals. (1996). Breaking ranks: Changing an American institution. Reston, VA: Author. Jamie Steiner 31
  32. 32. References National Governors Association. (2010, August). Setting statewide college- and career-ready goals (Issue Brief). Washington, DC: Author. National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis. (2010). College-going rates of high school graduates, directly from high school. Retrieved from http://www.higheredinfo.org Noddings, N. (1992). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to education. New York: Teachers College Press. Maslow, A. (1962). Toward a psychology of belonging. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand. Nichols, S. (2006). Teachers’ and students’ beliefs about student belonging in one middle school. The Elementary School Journal, 106(3), 255-271. Oesterreich, H. (2000). Characteristics of effective urban college preparation programs (Report No. EDO-UD-00-8). New York, NY: Institute for Urban and Minority Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED448244). Osterman, K. (2000). Students’ need for belonging in the school community. Review of Educational Research, 70(3), 323-367. Radcliffe, R., & Stephens, L. C. (2008). Preservice teachers are creating a college culture for at-risk middle school students. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 32(4), 1-15. Shields, C. M. (2004). Dialogic leadership for social justice: Overcoming pathologies of silence. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 111-134. Smyth, J. (2006). Educational leadership that fosters student voice. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9(4), 279-284. Jamie Steiner 32
  33. 33. References Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Stanton-Salazar, R., & Dornbusch, S.M. (1995). Social capital and the reproduction of inequality: Information networks among Mexican-origin high school students. Sociology of Education, 68, 116-135. United States Census Bureau (2010, April 20). Re: Census bureau reports nearly 6 in 10 advanced degree holders age 25-29 are women. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb10-55.html Uwah, C., McMahon, G.H., Furlow, C.F. (2008). School belonging, educational aspirations, and academic selfefficacy among african american male high school students: Implications for school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 11, 5, 296-305. Wentzel, K. (1997). Student motivation in middle school: The role of perceived pedagogical caring. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 411-419. Yamamura, E. K., Martinez, M. A., & Saenz, V. B. (2010). Moving beyond high school expectations: Examining stakeholders' responsibility for increasing Latina/o students' college readiness. High School Journal, 93(3), 126148. Jamie Steiner 33
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