Date of Award
Educational Administration and Policy Studies
achievement gap, engagement, ethnicity, socioeconomic
Evidence of the influence of engagement on learning and achievement is
well established. There is also indication of a test-score gap between poor
students and middle class students as well as among racial and ethnic groups.
This gap continues to be a top priority in educational reform. Since the
achievement gap continues to widen for many school districts and states,
investigating the possible connection between the engagement gap and the
achievement gap deserves needed attention.
This study sought to determine the differences in school engagement and
achievement levels between students from low and high-SES backgrounds, as
measured by free and reduced lunch, and between Caucasian and Hispanic
students. The study examined the engagement and achievement levels of
approximately 1,200 sixth grade middle school students in a suburban Colorado
The students' responses were then analyzed using independent sample t-
tests to determine differences. The major findings of this statistical analysis were
that slight differences exist between Caucasian and Hispanic students as well as
low and high-SES students on the 2007 CSAP scores in reading, writing, math,
and science scores and first trimester GPA for the 2007-2008 school year. In
addition, there were minimal differences between Hispanic and Caucasian
students and low and high-SES students in behavioral engagement, but not in
cognitive or emotional engagement.
This study has taken an in-depth look at engagement levels, and
differences in achievement were also explored. This study has confirmed that an
achievement gap exists. However, the results of this study have shown that the
achievement gap cannot be explained by an engagement gap. Based on the results
of this study, stressing the importance of engagement in school is not likely the
answer for closing the achievement gap.
Skalsky, Nicole, "School Engagement and the Achievement Gap" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 608.
Recieved from ProQuest
Educational psychology, Education