School Belonging and its Effect on Academic Achievement and Dropout Gaps: Could a Sense of School Belonging Influence Racial Gaps in High School Students?
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Racial gaps in academic achievement and school dropout have been prominent research topics in education for many years. Studies suggest that both academic achievement and school dropout are influenced by many of the same factors, including school engagement, which is said to consist of two parts: school participation and school identification or belonging. The present study analyzes the relationship between high school students’ sense of school belonging and their overall computed GPA, and the relationship between students’ sense of school belonging and their chances of experiencing a high school dropout. The present study also examines the moderating effect of race in these relationships. Results suggest that an increase in high school students’ sense of school belonging predicts a small increase in overall computed GPA, and a small decrease in dropout odds. Results also suggest that these effects vary for students belonging to different racial groups.