Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Michelle Ross

Abstract

Minority students are lagging behind their non-minority peers in academic achievement. Compounding this problem is the lack of research on minority students' perceptions on their connections to school, their feelings of autonomy, and their relationship with their parents. These variables are important considerations in this problem, as Ryan and Deci's self-determination theory suggests a strong relationship between student performance in school and students' perceptions of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. To address that gap, this cross-sectional, quantitative research study examined the relationship between minority high school students' perceived self-efficacy, locus of control, and parents' educational involvement on their self-reported academic achievement at a suburban charter high school. Differences in these variables by grade level and gender were also assessed. A convenience sample of 158 male and female students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades completed the Self-in-School instrument, Levenson Multidimensional Locus of Control Inventory, Importance of Parent Involvement Scale, and a demographic survey that included self-reported academic achievement. Regression analyses and multivariate analysis of variance revealed that school self-efficacy and students' perception of parental involvement of minority students were statistically significant predictors of self-reported academic achievement. No statistically significant differences were found on the 3 scales by grade, but statistically significant differences were obtained between male and female minority students' perception of parental involvement on their academic achievement. These findings may contribute to social change by helping mental health professionals and educators understand the importance of psychosocial variables in charter students' academic performance.