The Relationship Between School Connectedness And Behavior Patterns Among Students Attending An Alternative School
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Education
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Many studies in education have primarily placed emphasis on the impact of school context on the academic outcomes of students. This has given far less attention to the relationship between school's social environment and the psychosocial development of the learners. Even fewer studies examining these constructs have been conducted among students with emotional disorders in alternative educational programs even though this group of learners has greater social and behavioral needs than their peers in regular schools. In essence, alternative placements demand a higher level of preparedness among educators to strengthen students' interpersonal interactions for the development of appropriate socio-emotional and behavioral patterns. This study, thus, explored the relationship between school connectedness and behavior patterns among students with emotional and behavioral disorders in alternative schools. Similarly, the study also investigated how student's personal factors (age group, gender and type of residence) correlate with perceptions of school connectedness as well as behavior patterns. The data were collected from 13 to 22 years old students (N = 57) with emotional and behavioral disorders attending an alternative school in the Baltimore region. Two scales, Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) scale and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), were used to measure students' perceptions of school connectedness and behavior patterns respectively. Consequently, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and MANOVA were utilized to analyze the data. The study findings were (a) there is no relationship between perceptions of school connectedness and behavior patterns, and (b) there is no significant difference in perceptions of school connectedness and self-reported behavior patterns based on students' age, gender and type of residence. Recommendations for practitioner research, more individualized educational programming and diverse approaches to strengthen interpersonal relationships in alternative schools are suggested. This shift in educational theory, practice, and policy adds voice to the need for educational reform to meet the needs of at-risk students.