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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Amy Scott

First Committee Member

Linda Webster

Second Committee Member

Justin Low


School engagement has garnered interest in the academic research as a protective factor from many undesirable academic outcomes in high school. Maladaptive engagement patterns may begin to form as early as elementary school, therefore examining early predictors may be helpful in trying to identify and remedy early patterns of disengagement. The current study investigated the significance of early school motivation, academic self-concept and the student-teacher relationship in predicting student-reported school engagement at the age of 15 after controlling for race, gender, socioeconomic status, previous attendance, and previous achievement. This study included participants from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care (SECC) a comprehensive research database. It was hypothesized that student reported motivation in grade 5 would predict student reported school engagement at age 15, and that English self-concept and math self-concept in grade 6 and at age 15 would mediate this relationship. Findings from the data supported these hypotheses, establishing a relationship between early motivation and later engagement. Additionally, self-concept in both English and math was found to mediate that relationship. Self-concept in English and math at both grade 6 and age 15 had mediating effects on the relationship between motivation and engagement. It was hypothesized that the student-teacher relationship in grade 6 and at age 15 would moderate the relationship between motivation and engagement. The data did not support this hypothesis. Limitations and suggestions for future research on motivation, engagement, and the student-teacher are discussed.





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