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Title An Exporatory Multiple-Case Study of Factors Promoting Hope, Engagement, and Well-Being in High-Performing Middle Schools
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Psychology & Research in Education
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Kansas
Abstract The purpose of this exploratory multiple-case study was to investigate the factors that facilitate the development of hope, engagement, and well-being in middle school students. The Gallup Student Poll (GSP; Lopez, Agrawal, & Calderon, 2010) is a 20-item measure that taps the constructs of hope, engagement, and well-being in students in grades 5-12. The GSP was administered in the fall of 2009 to 246,682 students in 905 schools in the United States and again in the fall of 2010 to 266,971 students in 1,043 schools in the United States (Calderon, 2011). Three middle schools that participated in the GSP in 2010 and scored in the upper quartile of the Readiness for the Future Index (RFI), the composite index of hope, engagement, and well-being scores, were selected and participated in this study. The research questions investigated (a) how schools used the data from the GSP, (b) how educators perceived they were influencing hope, engagement, and well-being in students, (c) what factors educators believed affected their intervention efforts, and (d) how schools compared with one another in their responses to the three previous questions. Twelve focus groups (four per school) were conducted with teams of teachers from each school. Observations of school climate were also conducted on the same day as the focus group at each school. Focus group transcripts and observation field notes were coded for themes. Data was analyzed using the constant comparative and triangulation methods for individual cases and cross-case analysis. The findings from the cross-case comparisons indicated that the schools varied in their approach to using the GSP data. Two meta-themes emerged concerning the strategies that educators in the three schools felt were effective in boosting hope, engagement, and well-being: (a) creating an environment that fosters positive interactions and (b) providing an array of support strategies. Within the meta-themes, patterns of sub-themes were also noted. Five strategies corresponding to the first meta-theme were identified: (a) creating a positive and supportive atmosphere, (b) building relationships with students, (c) communicating clear expectations with consistent responses, (d) encouraging positive peer interactions, and (e) enhancing staff well-being. In terms of the second meta-theme, five different strategies were reported: (a) providing adequate support staff (e.g., counselors, police officers, nurses), (b) offering numerous structured extracurricular activities, (c) offering many ways for students to obtain academic help, (d) collaborating with other staff members to problem-solve around obstacles to student success, and (e) using quality instructional practices. Educators identified several factors that they believed impacted their efforts to help students become more hopeful, engaged, and thriving students. These factors are organized within an ecological systems theory framework. A discussion of the limitations of the study and directions for future research are presented.
Subjects/Keywords Counseling psychology; Education; Engagement; Gallup student poll; Hope; Middle school; Qualitative; Well-being
Contributors Lichtenberg, James W. (advisor); Krieshok, Thomas S. (cmtemember); Lopez, Shane J. (cmtemember); Hansen, David M. (cmtemember); Hallman, Heidi L. (cmtemember)
Language en
Rights This item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:1808/15065
Repository ku
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-02-01
Issued Date 2013-12-31 00:00:00

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