Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement in elementary-school children
by Fatum, Barbara A., Ed.D., University of San Francisco, 2008, 306; 3345150
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Academic Achievement in elementary-age children.

Emotional Intelligence competencies were measured using the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment for Youth (SEI-YV). The SEI-YV is a self-report instrument that provides scores on three composite measures of EI, eight EI competencies, and five barometers of health. Academic achievement scores were measured using the California Standardized Testing and Reporting program (STAR) achievement tests in English-Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

Two elementary schools in the San Francisco Bay Area were self-selected for study as a result of the quality of Social and Emotional Learning programs (SEL) that had been implemented in a systemic manner and designed to teach EI competencies to students in grades Kindergarten (K) to 5. Fifth-grade students were studied as a result of their immersion in the schools' EI-SEL programs for a continuous period of development. Faculty at both schools had established the EI-SEL programs with guidance and extensive professional development through the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Organization. Twenty-seven students from the alternate school participated in the study; 50 students from the traditional school participated. All students in the study, with the exception of two students from the traditional school who were lost through attrition, took the STAR achievement tests. Seven students were identified as diagnosed with learning disabilities (LD) through active Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs). Results suggested two weak, but significant correlations between two barometers of health and scores in English-Language Arts. Results of this study suggested that students diagnosed with learning disabilities scored almost one standard deviation below students without that diagnosis on all five barometers of health as measured by the SEI-YV.

Four themes emerged from this study. The first theme suggested that students enrolled in an EI curriculum like Self-Science develop EI competencies and display intrinsic motivation to apply those competencies. In contrast, students enrolled in a traditional SEL curriculum develop leadership and citizenship skills but evidence extrinsic motivation when applying those competencies. The second theme suggested that students whose EI competencies scored as high were able to reflect on those competencies, display an ability to exercise choice in application of those competencies, and apply those competencies in different contexts. In contrast, students whose EI competencies scored as low were engaged in figuring out the process and rules to follow to understand and utilize emotional intelligence competencies. The third theme suggested that students in both schools and in the high- and low-EI groups appreciated the difficulties of acquiring and applying EI-SEL competencies. Conclusions were that students perceived a need for adults to model competencies, for opportunities to practice competencies, for safe contexts in which to make and correct mistakes, and for opportunities to reflect on and discuss EI-SEL competencies. The fourth theme demonstrated student perceptions that EI-SEL competencies allowed them to be successful both inside and outside of school.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Busk, Patricia
School: University of San Francisco
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Curriculum development
Keywords: Academic achievement, Emotional intelligence, SEI-IV, Self-science, Social and emotional learning
Publication Number: 3345150
ISBN: 978-1-109-90087-3
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