Student-teacher relationships : linking relational constructs of closeness, conflict and dependency to student achievement : a quantitative study

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Harshbarger, Tim
Salloum, Serena J.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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This study examined the relationship between teacher perceptions of student-teacher relationships and growth in student standardized student achievement. The study also examined what statistical difference exist in how teachers perceive their relationships with students to how their students perceive their relationships with their teachers. The data collected and analyzed encompassed multiple data sources including student and teacher surveys and student achievement data. Statistical models were conducted to discover if there was a correlation between a perceived student-teacher relationship and student reading achievement scores and to what degree that correlation impacted student achievement. Ultimately, the data did not reveal a significant correlation between the perception of a student-teacher relationship and achievement scores for the variables of age, gender, or lunch status. Interestingly, it was discovered that teachers perceive they are closer to their female students than to their male students; and conversely, female students perceive they share more closeness with their teacher than do male students. Additionally, there was a statistically significant difference in how teachers perceived their relationship with students of different racial groups. Teachers perceived higher conflict with Black and Hispanic students than with White, Multiracial, and Asian students. Despite these findings, students did not perceive conflict with their teachers. This higher level of conflict would be important to study in schools with large Black and Hispanic student populations. It is possible that instructional conflict may occur between teachers and minority students. This could lead to the perception of a weaker relationship causing a barrier to future student success.