• Students Who Reject Academic Advice: A Longitudinal Study of Middle School

      Farley, Frank; DuCette, Joseph P.; Fullard, William; Stahler, Gerald; Thurman, S. Kenneth (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      This study investigated whether lower achieving students, students whose cumulative academic progress was below the predetermined benchmark needed in order to be recommended for an honors course, showed gains in academic achievement after rejecting their teachers' advice and choosing placement in an academically challenging environment by considering levels of motivation, attitudinal factors toward learning, and other background information. Two groups were considered throughout this research, specifically, "Group Z" was defined as students who selected enrollment in an honors course over a less rigorous academic class despite their teachers' recommendations which were based on prior academic performances. "Group A" was defined as students who selected enrollment in courses which were felt by their teachers to appropriately suit their needs in terms of academic challenges as evidenced by prior achievement. A secondary purpose of this study examined characteristics that distinguish high achieving students from average and low achieving students by considering levels of self-efficacy, academic achievement, standardized statewide assessment scores, and propensity to reject teachers' advice. A mixed methods approach utilized achievement data from archived records on 343 middle school students and assessed attitudes toward learning through questionnaires. A Repeated Measures ANOVA revealed that "Group A" maintained significantly higher cumulative GPAs when compared to "Group Z". Repeated Measures ANOVAs were conducted in each of the four curricular areas and revealed that honors students significantly outperformed academic students and those that rejected their teachers' recommendations in all four curricular areas. In math, honors students outperformed academic students and academic students significantly outperformed students who rejected their teachers' recommendations. High achieving "Group Z" students reported higher levels of parental support and past academic accomplishments/increased self-efficacy, when compared to their high achieving "Group A" peers. A Discriminant Function Analysis confirmed that high achieving students are distinguishable from average and low achieving students due to their higher levels of past academic accomplishments/increased self-efficacy, a decreased propensity to reject their teachers' advice, and higher PSSA reading scores.