Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gretchen Gimpel Peacock

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Donna Gilbertson

Third Advisor:

Rick Cruz

Abstract

One major purpose of school-based assessment approaches is to identify ways to intervene to promote positive school academic, social and well-being outcomes for all students. Although schools traditionally use assessment tools to identify students’ weaknesses and needs, they can also use strength-based assessment tools to guide intervention planning and to validate students’ and teachers’ positive views of student skills and characteristics. Sharing these strengths and how to use them may enhance a student’s perception of the teacher-student relationship, hope and academic competence. Likewise, a second approach to assessment, called Therapeutic Assessment (TA), has yielded similar child outcomes for youth in clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a strength-based therapeutic assessment process on teacher-student relationship, hope, and academic competency beliefs of students as compared to students receiving assessment as usual in school settings.

Student participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the treatment group, which received a strength-based therapeutic assessment approach, or the control group, which received assessment as usual in school settings. Student-teacher relationship quality, student hope levels, and students’ academic competency beliefs were measured before and after experimental conditions were enacted.

Although no statistically significant differences were found between students in the treatment and control groups on any of the dependent variables (teacher-student relationship quality, student hope levels, and student-reported academic competency beliefs), a medium strength effect size (d = 0.55) was found for the Children’s Hope Scale (CHS). This indicates that the treatment condition may have moderate practical significance in increasing student hope levels. Additionally, a small, but meaningful effect size (d = -0.38) was found for the Competence Beliefs and Subjective Task Values Questionnaire (CBSTVQ) average math variable. This indicates that the treatment condition is moderately associated with students experiencing a decrease in perceived math competence. Future research on this topic should use a larger sample size in order to better determine whether or not the treatment condition has statistically significant effects on the dependent variables of teacher-student relationship quality, student hope levels, and academic competency beliefs.

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