Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeanne Surface

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Neal Grandgenett


Ensuring high academic achievement in schools with increasingly diverse students is a challenge. Assessing student engagement can be a powerful tool in predicting potential success and identifying students who may need additional support. Positive youth development theory supports focusing on a young person’s strengths, and an asset-based approach to education can raise student achievement. During the 2007-2008 school year, seventh grade students were assessed for school engagement using the Developmental Assets Profile. Students were identified as either not engaged or engaged in school. For two years, achievement in reading and math as well as grade point average was collected and analyzed using two-way analyses of variance for time (seventh grade to eighth grade) and engagement level. Overall findings indicate that students who are engaged in school achieve at higher rates and have higher grade point averages in both reading and math. Identifying students who are not engaged and using techniques to raise engagement levels can lead to higher achievement.


Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska for the Requirements of the Degree Doctor of Education. Copyright 2010 Heather C. Phipps.

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