Relationships among Student Social-Emotional Competence, Academic Performance, and Attendance
thesisposted on 27.07.2018, 00:00 by Teresa G Borowski
Previous research connects social-emotional competence (SEC) with a variety of positive academic and school outcomes. However, there is a lack of research evidence about whether SEC provides similar benefits to students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. This study examines if the relationships among SEC, academic achievement, and school absences are moderated by a student’s race/ethnicity (White vs. Latino). Participants were 2,618 fifth and eleventh grade students in a large urban school district; half identified as White and half identified as Latino. Student SEC scores, school absences, GPA, and standardized math and reading tests scores, as well as race/ethnicity, were analyzed. Supporting previous work, students with higher self-management and self-awareness had higher GPA, higher scores on standardized math and reading tests, and fewer absences. However, some differential effects were found: the relationships between self-awareness and school absences and between responsible decision-making and reading test scores were moderated by race/ethnicity, in that only Latino students’ self-management related to fewer absences and only White students’ responsible decision-making related to higher reading scores. This study provides views about the complexity and importance of considering race/ethnicity and cultural factors when examining relationships between SEC and various academic indicators. Only intrapersonal competencies were associated with differences by race/ethnicity. More should be explored in terms of the intrapersonal vs. interpersonal framing of SEC, particularly in relation to race/ethnicity, which may have implications for broader outcomes in education. Future studies should also examine intragroup differences, include longitudinal data, and begin unpacking the mechanisms of self-management.