Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership P-12

Committee Chair/Advisor

Lindle, Jane C

Committee Member

Knoeppel , Robert

Committee Member

Hunt , Henry

Committee Member

Sharp , Julia


This study attempted to identify aspects of student engagement and capital inputs that impacted student achievement. The primary research question in the study asked: Does student engagement mediate the effects of capital inputs at the student, school, and class level to improve student achievement? The study also sought to understand how student engagement, capital inputs, and student achievement differed between White and African American students. This study used the 1990 and 1992 follow-up waves of the NELS:88 dataset. Two standardized scores defined student achievement: 12th grade reading and mathematics. The data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM). Data analyses failed to support student engagement as a mediator of capital inputs for increased student achievement. Instead, the study supported the class-level factor, comprised of the track-level of the class and teacher expectations for student success, as having the strongest effect on student performance, although school-level factors and teacher perceptions of student engagement were significant in the model. The class-level factor had a strong path coefficient (.889 for White students; .726 for African American students) for student achievement. The final model explained 52% of the variance in student achievement for White students and 38% of the variance in student achievement for African American students.



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