Educational Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of School Psychology 50 (2012) 443–460


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


The current longitudinal study examines the extent to which school connectedness (i.e., students' perceptions of school support and the number of adults with whom they have a positive relationship) is associated with academic outcomes across sixth grade for students from high poverty neighborhoods. Data were collected from 330 sixth-grade students attending two middle schools in a large public school district. Specifically, students completed a survey to assess their perceived connection to the school environment, and academic information regarding students' grades, attendance, and discipline referrals was obtained from school records. Results fromlatent growth curve modeling showed that, on average, students' perceptions of school support declined significantly across the sixth-grade year. However, students who reported less decline, or growth, in school support across sixth grade had higher academic achievement at the end of the year than students who reported more decline in school support. Sixth-grade boys were at a greater risk for negative outcomes (i.e., lower school support, lower GPAs, and more discipline referrals) across the school year than girls. Results point to the importance of perceived connectedness to school in helping economically disadvantaged students experience a safe and successful transition to middle school.