Relations between Academic Achievement and Self-Concept among Adolescent Students with Disabilities over Time

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Previous literature suggests that academic achievement and self-concept among adolescents in the general education population are positively related (e.g., Huang, 2011). For students with disabilities, however, the correlation between academic achievement and self-concept is sometimes negative and non-significant (Daniel & King, 1995; Feiwell, 1997; Houck & Houck, 1976; Young, 1990). Limited research has investigated the relations between academic achievement and self-concept of students with disabilities and few studies consider this relation over time. This study design included four features to address the gaps in the literature: 1) methods appropriate for complex data sets; 2) use of latent constructs; and investigation of differences 3) between genders and 4) among the categories of disability. Three questions were investigated: What are the relations between self-concept and academic achievement over time among adolescent students with disabilities? What are the differences in these relations among male and female adolescents with disabilities? What are the differences in these relations among adolescent students with emotional disturbance (ED), intellectual disabilities (ID), and learning disabilities (LD)? In a secondary analysis of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) database, cross-lagged longitudinal panel path analyses were used to explore the relations among the overall sample of 14-year-olds as well as of males-only, females-only, ED-only, ID-only, and LD-only subgroups. Additional procedures were used to account for issues due to missing data, non-normality of distributions, and clustered, stratified, and disproportionate sampling. Results of the study suggested that the relations between academic achievement and self-concept were complex. In the overall sample, no significant relations were found. When split by gender, the data indicated nearly equal but opposite path coefficients from self-concept at Time 1 to academic achievement at Time 2. The paths from academic achievement at Time 1 to self-concept at Time 2 obtained statistical significance among the ED-only (positive) and LD-only (negative) groups. The subgroup differences in the relations between academic achievement and self-concept suggested that more subgroup analyses need to occur. None of the study's hypotheses were fully supported by the data. The recommendations for practice, policy, and research are presented.
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Relations between Academic Achievement and Self-Concept among Adolescent Students with Disabilities over Time David E. Emenheiser B.A. in Educational Studies and Psychology, August 1994, University of Delaware M.A. in Education & Human Development, August 1998, The George Washington University A Dissertation Submitted to The Faculty of The Graduate School of Education and Human Development The George Washington University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education May 19, 2013 Dissertation directed by Elisabeth Hess Rice Associate Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies UMI Number: 3557494 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMI 3557494 Published by ProQuest LLC (2013). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106 - 1346 The Graduate School of Education and Human Development of The George Washington University certifies that David E. Emenheiser has passed the Final Examination for the degree of Doctor of Education as of February 27, 2013. This is the final and approved form of the dissertation. Relations between Academic Achievement and Self-Concept among Adolescent Students with Disabilities over Time David E. Emenheiser Dissertation Research Committee: Elisabeth Hess Rice, Associate Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies, Dissertation Director David B. Malouf, Education Program Specialist (Retired), U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Committee Member Brandi A. Weiss, Assistant Professor of Educational Research, Committee Member ii Dedication To Eric Hooper, because I love him. iii Acknowledgements The goal to be the first in my family to earn a doctorate has come to pass. The work would not have been completed without tremendous support and guidance from my family and friends. Among my widespread network of deep and dear support, there are a few whose efforts must be acknowledged. I returned to GW to complete my doctorate because of Lisa Hess Rice. I knew she would “get me through.” And she did. I could not have expected how much she would give to see it done. I am forever grateful that she is my dissertation chair, advisor, and friend. Karen Ihrig has been my cheerleader from long before the doc program through the very end of it. Her unconditional love and positive outlook along with her say-what- needs-to-be-said style are infectious and appreciated. My Dissertation Committee: for refining this study through their wit, wisdom, patience, and high expectations. My work colleagues at OSEP and the Dissertation Support Group kept my feet to the fire and provided many helpful hints. Thanks especially to Leah Zimmerman, Ed Vitelli, David Guardino, and Richelle Davis for the countless encouragements, commiserations, and celebrations. The GWU GSEHD Selective Excellence cohort was a formidable group with whom I was privileged to be in the doc program. Christine Pilgrim, Rockey Knox, and Ratna Siregar most especially have become true colleagues and friends. There are many others who in small and great ways have made this journey possible, enjoyable, and complete. I hope to pay it forward. And finally, thanks, God! iv Abstract of Dissertation Relations between Academic Achievement and Self-concept among Adolescent Students with Disabilities over Time Previous literature suggests that academic achievement and self-concept among adolescents in the general education population are positively related (e.g., Huang, 2011). For students with disabilities, however, the correlation between academic achievement and self-concept is sometimes negative and non-significant (Daniel & King, 1995; Feiwell, 1997; Houck & Houck, 1976; Young, 1990). Limited research has investigated the relations between academic achievement and self-concept of students with disabilities and few studies consider this relation over time. This study design included four features to address the gaps in the literature: 1) methods appropriate for complex data sets; 2) use of latent constructs; and investigation of differences 3) between genders and 4) among the categories of disability. Three questions were investigated: What are the relations between self-concept and academic achievement over time among adolescent students with disabilities? What are the differences in these relations among male and female adolescents with disabilities? What are the differences in these relations among adolescent students with emotional disturbance (ED), intellectual disabilities (ID), and learning disabilities (LD)? In a secondary analysis of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) database, cross-lagged longitudinal panel path analyses were used to explore the relations among the overall sample of 14-year-olds as well as of males-only, females- only, ED-only, ID-only, and LD-only subgroups. Additional procedures were used to account for issues due to missing data, non-normality of distributions, and clustered, stratified, and disproportionate sampling. v Results of the study suggested that the relations between academic achievement and self-concept were complex. In the overall sample, no significant relations were found. When split by gender, the data indicated nearly equal but opposite path coefficients from self-concept at Time 1 to academic achievement at Time 2. The paths from academic achievement at Time 1 to self-concept at Time 2 obtained statistical significance among the ED-only (positive) and LD-only (negative) groups. The subgroup differences in the relations between academic achievement and self-concept suggested that more subgroup analyses need to occur. None of the study’s hypotheses were fully supported by the data. The recommendations for practice, policy, and research are presented. vi Table of Contents page Dedication _____________________________________________________________ iii Acknowledgements ______________________________________________________ iv Abstract of Dissertation __________________________________________________ v List of Figures _________________________________________________________ xiii List of Tables _________________________________________________________ xiv Chapter 1: Introduction ___________________________________________________ 1 Statement of the Problem _______________________________________________ 4 Purpose and Research Questions _________________________________________ 5 Statement of Potential Significance _______________________________________ 5 Summary of Methodology ______________________________________________ 7 Limitations __________________________________________________________ 8 Interval between data collection ________________________________________ 8 Statistical power ____________________________________________________ 9 Historicity of the data.________________________________________________ 9 Validity and reliability of the instruments _______________________________ 10 Exclusion of most severe disabilities ___________________________________ 10 Delimitations ________________________________________________________ 11 Adolescent age cohort _______________________________________________ 11 High incidence disabilities ___________________________________________ 11 vii Mediating and moderating factors. _____________________________________ 12 Definitions of Key Terms ______________________________________________ 12 Academic achievement. _____________________________________________ 12 Emotional disturbance ______________________________________________ 12 High incidence disabilities ___________________________________________ 13 Intellectual disability ________________________________________________ 13 Latent construct. ___________________________________________________ 14 Learning disability _________________________________________________ 14 Self-concept. ______________________________________________________ 14 Self enhancement __________________________________________________ 15 Skill development __________________________________________________ 15 Chapter 2: Review of the Research Literature ________________________________ 16 Conceptual Framework ________________________________________________ 16 Generalized nonlinear development of the brain. __________________________ 17 Interconnectedness of neural processes _________________________________ 18 The effects of environmental factors ___________________________________ 19 Topics, Purposes, and Methods of the Literature Review _____________________ 21 Self-Concept ________________________________________________________ 22 Self-concept defined ________________________________________________ 22 Early theories of self-concept. ________________________________________ 22 Neuroscience and self-concept ________________________________________ 24 Recent theory of self-concept _________________________________________ 25 viii Children and Adolescents with Disabilities ________________________________ 27 Characteristics of students with disabilities. ______________________________ 27 Academic achievement of students with disabilities. _______________________ 27 Self-concept of students with disabilities. _______________________________ 29 The Relations between Academic Achievement and Self-Concept ______________ 32 Correlation. _______________________________________________________ 33 Causal relations. ___________________________________________________ 36 Skill development ________________________________________________ 36 Self enhancement ________________________________________________ 38 Reciprocal causality ______________________________________________ 39 Summary _________________________________________________________ 42 The Gaps in the Literature _____________________________________________ 43 Statistical methods appropriate for complex data. _________________________ 43 Benefit of latent variable research. _____________________________________ 44 Moderators. _______________________________________________________ 45 Disability categories.________________________________________________ 45 Chapter 3: Methods _____________________________________________________ 47 Overview ___________________________________________________________ 47 Research Questions and Hypotheses _____________________________________ 47 Participants _________________________________________________________ 48 Sampling _________________________________________________________ 48 Sample. __________________________________________________________ 48 ix Missing data. ______________________________________________________ 49 Measures ___________________________________________________________ 50 Academic achievement ______________________________________________ 50 Self-concept ______________________________________________________ 51 Design _____________________________________________________________ 51 Variables and constructs. ____________________________________________ 52 Academic achievement. ___________________________________________ 52 Self-concept ____________________________________________________ 52 Model. ___________________________________________________________ 52 Measurement model. ______________________________________________ 53 Structural model. _________________________________________________ 53 Design controls. ___________________________________________________ 54 Procedures __________________________________________________________ 55 Human Participants and Ethics __________________________________________ 55 Chapter 4: Results ______________________________________________________ 61 Overview ___________________________________________________________ 61 Assumptions ________________________________________________________ 61 Assumption of normal distributions ____________________________________ 62 Assumption of independence _________________________________________ 63 Statistical Procedures _________________________________________________ 63 Analysis software. __________________________________________________ 63 The measurement model _____________________________________________ 64 x Data-model fit _____________________________________________________ 64 Constraining parameters _____________________________________________ 65 Respecification ____________________________________________________ 65 Structural model ___________________________________________________ 66 Statistics ___________________________________________________________ 67 Research question 1 ________________________________________________ 67 Research question 2 ________________________________________________ 68 Male-only sample ________________________________________________ 68 Female-only sample ______________________________________________ 69 Research question 3 ________________________________________________ 69 ED-only sample _________________________________________________ 70 ID-only sample __________________________________________________ 70 LD-only sample _________________________________________________ 71 Chapter 5: Interpretations, Recommendations, and Conclusion ___________________ 81 Findings____________________________________________________________ 81 Interpretations of the Findings __________________________________________ 82 Absence of significant relations _______________________________________ 83 Moderating effect of gender __________________________________________ 84 Differences among disabilities ________________________________________ 85 Recommendations ____________________________________________________ 86 For practice _______________________________________________________ 86 For policy ________________________________________________________ 88 xi For research _______________________________________________________ 88 Conclusion _________________________________________________________ 89 References ____________________________________________________________ 91 Appendix A: The Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study _____________ 109 Appendix B: Dictionary of the Variables ___________________________________ 110 Appendix C: LISREL® Syntax __________________________________________ 112 xii List of Figures Figure 1: Social Neuroscience Conceptual Framework.................................................... 46 Figure 2: Conceptual Path Diagram .................................................................................. 59 Figure 3: Hypothetical Measurement Model .................................................................... 59 Figure 4: Overall Structural Model ................................................................................... 60 Figure 5: Respecified Measurement Model ...................................................................... 74 Figure 6: Path Diagram: Overall Sample .......................................................................... 75 Figure 7: Path Diagram: Male-only Sample ..................................................................... 76 Figure 8: Path Diagram: Female-only Sample.................................................................. 77 Figure 9: Path Diagram: ED-only Sample ........................................................................ 78 Figure 10: Path Diagram: ID-only Sample ....................................................................... 79 Figure 11: Path Diagram: LD-only Sample ...................................................................... 80 xiii List of Tables Demographic Characteristics of the Overall Sample and By Gender and Disability ....... 57 Means, Skew, and Kurtosis of Self-Concept Variables .................................................... 73 Means, Skew, and Kurtosis of Academic Achievement Variables .................................. 73 Data-Model Fit Assessment .............................................................................................. 73 Unstandardized and Standardized Path Coefficients ........................................................ 74 Variable Definitions from SEELS Used in this Study .................................................... 110 LISREL® Syntax for the Measurement Phase ............................................................... 112 LISREL® Syntax for 2-Panel 2 Construct SEM: The Structural Phase ......................... 114 xiv Chapter 1: Introduction Overview Students with disabilities continue to experience poor education, employment, household, and community outcomes with minimal and uneven improvement since at least 1990 (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, Knokey, & Shaver, 2010). The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has shown that proficiency has risen steadily in both reading and mathematics for all students over the same time period, but not among students with disabilities across the years in which disaggregated data were reported (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 placed responsibility on teachers, schools, and states to hold higher expectations of all students, including children with disabilities, to achieve academic proficiency. The greater accountability has not increased pass rates of students with disabilities on the assessments of reading and mathematics (Chudowsky & Chudowsky, 2009; Data Accountability Center, n.d.; Thurlow, Altman, & Vang, 2009). The data suggest that accountability and higher expectations do affect academic achievement. That effect, however, fails to be measureable among students with disabilities. The trends in the data demonstrate that accountability and higher expectations might be necessary, but are insufficient to improve academic achievement and lifelong outcomes of students with disabilities (MacLaughlin & Rhim, 2007). The research literature indicates that academic achievement of k-12 students is influenced by both social-contextual (i.e., school climate, parental involvement, and peer influences) and personal factors (i.e., time management, motivation, and self-concept; 1 Lee & Shute, 2010). Therefore, teachers, schools, and states must have a deeper understanding of the effects of the social-contextual and personal factors on increased academic achievement of students with disabilities. This study investigated the influence of one personal factor, self-concept, on the academic achievement of adolescents with disabilities. The relation between academic achievement and self-concept has been investigated since Roth (1959) studied reading improvement at the college level. A meta- analyses of correlations showed a modest (.212) average correlation from studies with samples from preschool to college (Hansford & Hattie, 1982). A similar average correlation (.17) was found in another meta-analysis of studies sampling students in elementary school to “college and beyond” (Wickline, 2003). A third meta-analysis found a small average effect size of self beliefs on subsequent academic achievement (β = .09) among samples with average ages from 6.0 to 25.0 years (Valentine, DuBois, & Cooper, 2004). These studies show that academic achievement and self-concept correlate from early childhood through young adulthood. Subsequent studies showed positive correlations between academic achievement in specific content areas, whether mathematics or language arts, and self-concepts of ability in those academic areas (Haynes, 2005; Stringer & Heath, 2008). Academic achievement, regardless of measure, correlates with self
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