Date of Conferral







Michael R. Durnam


Student engagement is a determinant for students' academic success, readiness for higher education, and social agency. The purpose of this qualitative, case study was to explore ninth grade students' perceptions of the contextual and psychological factors that influence the development of student engagement profiles. The ecological systems theory was used as the framework for the study. Through purposive sampling, 15 participants were selected, and 5 groups of 3 were formed based on participants' engagement profiles as identified by cooperating teachers' categorization and the results of the Student Engagement Instrument. Using semi structured interviews, data were gathered for the 4 research questions. Iterative content analysis of interview data identified 7 emergent themes that underscored the relative importance of parental support, teacher's mood and behavior, peer relationship, and a sense of justice and safety in the classroom as factors that promote multidimensional engagement patterns. These findings may influence students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, community members, and organizations to create spaces, and develop practices and policies that would provide environments and relationships that enhance students' emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement with school and schoolwork, especially for students who might be on the verge of disengaging from school.