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Understanding the role of noncognitive skills and school environments in students’ transitions to high school

Region:
Southwest
Description:
The purpose of this study was to: examine differences in students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments by race/ethnicity, and explore whether students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments were related to three outcomes that have been identified in the research as mattering most for a success transition to high school—grade 9 GPA, grade 9 absences, and grade 9 course failures. The study used administrative and survey data from students in 14 high schools in New Mexico. Regression analyses were used to investigate differences in students’ responses on scales measuring their perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments. Structural equation modeling was used to assess relationships between students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments and their grade 9 outcomes. The results of this study revealed significant differences in students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environment by race/ethnicity. The results also suggest that students’ perceptions of their noncognitive factors and school environments are associated with the grade 9 outcomes. Although no causal relationships can be derived from this study, the results can help schools or districts to determine where they might want to focus some of their efforts with regard to helping students to make successful transitions to high school. Given that Hispanic and Native American students have lower graduation rates, improving the noncognitive skills or school environment factors that are strongly related to grade 9 performance for these groups may well provide a substantial return on investment in dropout prevention.
Publication Type:
Making Connections
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
December 2017
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