Belongingness Program Evaluation with Local Middle-School Students



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The present research investigates correlations between the basic need satisfaction of belongingness and intrinsic academic motivation in middle school students. Current literature describes that students in middle school suffer a drop in basic need satisfaction and school engagement. Students reporting supportive relationships are more academically engaged, and one method used to encourage these relationships is the emphasis of social skills. Therefore, the present researchers test whether adding social skills to a middle school curriculum increases intrinsic academic motivation by increasing belongingness among students. The study population consists of 32 5th grade students from a low-income charter school in a large southwestern city. The study is a 4-week long program evaluation where students participating in summer school reviewed a new social skill each week and practiced it throughout the week, later reporting if/how they utilized the skill. Intrinsic academic motivation was measured at baseline and follow-up, and belongingness was measured at baseline, weekly, and at follow-up. Academic engagement was measured by self-reported skill use and optional homework completion.