Date of Award:

5-2019

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

James Dorward

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Courtney Stewart

Third Advisor:

Suzanne Jones

Abstract

Connectedness has been identified as a powerful protective factor for adolescents. This study focused on the extent to which secondary students at the American International School of Utah (AISU) report perceptions of connectedness. Specifically, this work focused on school-level factors. It examined the extent to which participation in the school-wide interventions of Crew and Intensives influence perceptions of connectedness among AISU secondary students. Data collected provided insights about perceptions of connectedness within the AISU environment that may be used to inform current practices, identify additional student support needs, and improve future implementations.

An Explanatory Sequential research design was used. This method included the use of quantitative measure administered and analyzed first, followed by a qualitative measure used to learn more about the quantitative results. The Hemingway Measure of Adolescent Connectedness Short Form by Michael Karcher served as the quantitative measure for this study. A semistructured interview protocol, created by the researcher, was used as the qualitative instrument.

Results indicated that overall, study participants reported high-levels of connectedness on the Hemingway. Analysis of the Hemingway Subscales revealed that the Friends subscale had the highest levels of connectedness, followed by connectedness to Teacher. Connectedness to School was slightly lower than connectedness to Teachers. Connectedness to Peers showed moderate levels of connectedness.

To learn more about the results of the quantitative stage of this study, semistructured interviews were conducted and analyzed using traditional deductive coding techniques. Results showed high-levels of connectedness associated with AISU as a school and with participation in Crew. Findings on the questions asking about Intensives showed that students appear to value the unique learning opportunities and ability to choose what they learn, more than they associated Intensives with connectedness.

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