Theses Doctoral

Student-Teacher relationships as predictors of reading comprehension gains in 2nd grade

DeTeso, Jeffrey A.

The purpose of this study was to examine whether the perceived quality of the student-teacher relationship in second grade predicted reading comprehension gains over the course of one year in a model that included variables known to effect reading comprehension: quality of classroom instruction, social economic status, engagement, and peer relatedness. Reading comprehension gains for 255 second grade students in a high socio-economic school district were obtained in a pre-post fashion from school records over a single academic year. Teachers' rated each student in their class on one occasion in terms of the degree of conflict and closeness in the student-teacher relationship, the quality of peer relatedness, and classroom engagement. The CLASS (Pianta, Paro, & Hamre, 2008), an observation system, was employed to measure several important classroom variables including emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support, yielding a teacher competence score. Because the 255 students were nested within seven different elementary schools with 14 different teachers, a hierarchical linear model (HLM) was used with classroom engagement as a mediating variable. There were an insufficient number of teachers and elementary schools to use HLM so an alternative model that estimated the overall relationships among the variables and corrected the significance tests for the nesting of the students within classrooms, and the nesting of the classrooms (teachers) within schools was employed. The hypothesized model fit the data well (÷2 = 9.17, (4), p < .06, RMSEA = .07, CFI = .98). Significant direct paths were found for student-teacher closeness, peer relatedness, and fall reading scores on classroom engagement. Significant indirect paths were found from student-teacher closeness, peer relatedness, and fall reading scores to reading comprehension gains via classroom engagement. Finally, classroom engagement had a positive direct effect on reading comprehension. Teacher competence and conflict in student-teacher relations were unrelated to reading comprehension gains. Study findings have implications for future educational focus such as improving classroom engagement, fostering close student-teacher-relationships, enhancing peer relatedness, and training teachers. Future research should be conducted with larger and more diverse samples, and examine the student's perception of the student-teacher relationship.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
School Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Brassard, Marla Ruth
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2011