Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Student trust: Impacting high school outcomes
by Romero, Lisa, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 2010, 160; 3426185
Abstract (Summary)

There has been growing recognition of the importance of trust in efforts to reform schools, improve learning, and positively impact student achievement. Previous research has focused on trust between adult actors—teachers, parents and principals—typically in elementary school settings. This dissertation shifts the focus to student trust, asking whether and how student trust in high schools matters.

Trust is conceptualized as a multi-faceted construct involving the discernment of benevolence, competence and integrity in school organizations and staff. Structural Equation Modeling is used to measure student trust as a second order factor with benevolence, competence and integrity as first order factors; and to determine the effect of trust on high school outcomes such as graduation and post-secondary plans, controlling for prior achievement and student background.

Data for this study is drawn from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS). ELS provides a nationally representative sample of over 14,000 students attending more than 750 public, private and Catholic schools, representing 3.2 million students in the U.S. who were high school sophomores in 2002, with follow-up studies in 2004 and 2006.

Results show that student trust has a significant measureable effect on high school outcomes. Students with high levels of trust have more positive high school outcomes than students low in trust. Trusting students are more likely to graduate, have more ambitious postsecondary plans and higher grade point averages. Additionally, this research demonstrates that while all three facets of trust are important, student estimation of benevolence is the most important, followed by equal amounts of competence and integrity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mitchell, Douglas E.
Commitee: Marcoulides, George, Ream, Robert
School: University of California, Riverside
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 71/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy, Secondary education
Keywords: Achievement, Education policy, High school, School reform, Student trust, Trust
Publication Number: 3426185
ISBN: 978-1-124-26374-8
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