Title

Validation of a New Conceptual Model of School Connectedness and its Assessment Measure

Date of Completion

January 2011

Keywords

Social Work|Education, Guidance and Counseling

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

A self-report assessment scale of school connectedness was validated in this study based on the data from middle-school children in a northeastern state of the United States (n = 145). The scale was based on the School Bonding Model (Morita, 1991), which was derived reductively from the social control (bond) theory (Hirschi, 1969). This validation included the development of an assessment scale for the model and the hypothesis testing of the content domains, internal structure, and relationships to students' outcome variables of the scale. The result of the hypothesis testing provided the evidence of the convergent validity and the concurrent validity of the School Bonding scale. The factor analysis result suggested the scale consists of four factors, each of which reflected the unique combinations of the hypothetical sub-constructs of the model. These four factors accounted for 37.5 percent of shared variance of the scale, each of which might represent (1) teacher acceptance, (2) peer acceptance, (3) perceived benefit of ongoing school programs, and (4) perceived benefit of school for students' future goals. The internal consistency for sub-scales based on the newly extracted four factors were ranged from α = 0.64 to 0.83. The reliability for the entire scale was α = 0.89. There was no mean difference on the scores between participant schools or between genders. Significant mean differences were found between grade levels (7th and 8th graders) and between participants' race/ethnicity (only the perceived benefit of school for students' future goals sub-scale between Asian and African American children). Scores on each sub-scale (i.e., factor) were uniquely associated with specific student outcomes such as perceived academic performance, attendance, delinquent acts, or negative moods. Evidence for the validity of this model and its assessment scale suggests the importance of peer acceptance, teacher acceptance, and their integration for children's better school performance and avoiding their problem behaviors. The findings from this study would have implications for the social work practice, research, and education, each of which intends to identify the nature of children's adaptation in various environments such as cultural, societal, economic, and political arena. ^