Breaking Down the Barriers to Academic Success: Middle School Students' Perceptions of Barriers to Academic Achievement
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Social Work Honors Theses; 2017
Middle school students, especially those of racial minorities and low socioeconomic status, face a multitude of barriers when striving for academic success. The wide range of possible barriers is what led me to ask the question of how middle school students themselves perceive their own barriers to academic achievement. What do they think is the most influential factor in their academic success? What do they see as a problem in their classrooms and communities? I also sought to explore how these perceptions are affected by self-efficacy and race. This was achieved through a survey administered to a sample of 88 middle school students. The survey included questions designed to assess self-efficacy and perceived barriers to academic success, in addition to questions about basic demographic information (age, race, and gender). Results indicate that there are meaningful differences in self-efficacy based on gender and race. There are also differences in how participants perceive certain barriers, such as teacher cultural competency, based on race. The majority of participants agree that being tired and/or hungry in school is a barrier to their academic success. My study adds to existing knowledge of what causes the achievement gap. It also provides direction for future school social work practice, both within the school at which my research was conducted, and in schools that are struggling with similar issues.
Outstanding Honors Thesis for Social Work-Honorable Mention
Academic Major: Social Work
OSU College of Social Work