Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Ashton Trice

Tammy Gilligan

Patti Warner

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of school belonging among middle school students and contributing factors that may affect their perceptions of belonging. Specific contributing factors that were identified for this project include gender, grade level, GPA, education classification, and socioeconomic status. The participating students were 13 middle school students within a rural community. A 21 item school membership questionnaire adapted from the Psychological Sense of School Membership Scale (Goodenow, 1993) was used to assess the participant’s perceptions of belonging, rejection and acceptance within their school, as well as their participation in school related extracurricular activities and their likelihood to graduate from high school and desire to further their education. Participants within this study reported having an overall belonging score of 3.22 (SD = .15) on a scale ranging from “1 = not at all true” to “5 = completely true”. These findings indicated that the participants had a neutral or moderate level of overall sense of school belonging. Survey responses also suggest that participants had moderate rejection and acceptance scores. Responses to the two additional questions relating to the likelihood of completing high school and continuing on to further their education revealed consistent high level results. Responses to the third additional question suggested that many of the participants participate in at least one extracurricular activity at their school. Due to so few participants, inferential statistical analyses including significance levels of the factors that were identified to be explored within this study could not be performed or reported. The current study’s findings can provide the participating middle school with a platform of information regarding school belong within their school. The tool developed from the Psychological Sense of School Membership Scale can be used on a much larger sample size within the school to obtain a more accurate representation of the students’ sense of school belonging.

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Psychology Commons

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