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Perceptions of Personalization for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning in High Schools

Title: Perceptions of Personalization for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning in High Schools: Social Cognitive and Ecological Perspectives.

Inaccessible until Sep 27, 2020 due to copyright restrictions.

Name(s): Roberts, Ronnie Linley, author
Rutledge, Stacy A., professor directing dissertation
Reynolds, John R., university representative
Iatarola, Patrice, committee member
Schrader, Linda B., committee member
Perez-Felkner, Lara, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Education, degree granting college
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (374 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation highlights the experience of personalization in schools in the context of high-stakes test-based education accountability policy. Historically, personalization has been understood to be essential to the teaching-learning enterprise. However, there have been variable understandings and applications of personalization in schools. Given education policy and core school activities, personalization tends to be slanted toward an academic focus and, consequently, its social-emotional core—social support based on adult-student relationships—tends to be downplayed. Also, students are usually viewed as passive recipients of school-related social support, rather than active agents in the shaping of their own school experiences. There is also a failure to adequately acknowledge the influence of external environments. This study subscribes to an expansive, yet integrative view of personalization, as it considers multiple interrelated concerns/facets and goals of education and development. The twin goals of this study are to explore students’ and school personnel’s perceptions of high school students’ personalization experiences in a high stakes accountability context and to understand how social-cognitive factors and ecological conditions might shape adults’ personalization practices and students’ personalization experiences. For this study, I adopted a relational-developmental systems framework, particularly as it is represented in Bandura’s social cognitive theory and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory. Applying elements of this Bandura-Bronfenbrenner lens and related literature, I advanced the assumption that the reciprocal interplay among student characteristics (viz., self-concept, agentic beliefs/actions, future aspirations, engagement, sense of belonging), interpersonal processes (viz., adult-student relationships, social support, adult/teacher expectations), and sociostructural factors (viz., school-home interactions, accountability policy/demands) informs students’ personalization experiences and academic and social-emotional development. Working through a critical realist lens, I interrogated qualitative data drawn from the dataset of the National Center on Scaling up Effective Schools’ work in two higher-performing and two lower-performing Florida high schools with specific performance and accountability statuses. I used a qualitative multiple-case study approach. I conducted three forms of qualitative content analysis (directed, conventional, summative) to recode a subset of data from semi-structured interviews with 23 students, 48 teachers, and 12 guidance counselors across the four participating high schools. Findings are discussed in terms of the literature and limitations of the data. The study uncovered several consequential personalization practices, structures, and related experiences across the four case study schools. Most of these aspects were more evident in the higher-performing schools, with variations between schools of similar performance statuses. Important personalization structures included small learning communities (SLCs), looping, and extracurriculars; salient personalization practices involved reciprocal sharing and club sponsorship. The study demonstrates the personal-structural nature of personalization and the centrality of intentional social-emotional connections. However, further research is needed to understand the extent to which particular social support classifications reflect the emotional core of personalization. The findings in this study also indicate the presence of several notable student characteristics and experiences: universalized, positive academic self-conceptions; mastery experiences and social models as major sources of self-concept formation; widespread college-going aspirations; and differences in behavioral engagement and agency. These findings underscore students’ personal contributions to their school experiences and development in concert with their interactions with school personnel and other significant others. Schools and school personnel are therefore encouraged to provide needed “external assets” to foster students “self-concept formation,” enhance self-regulatory strategies, and establish structures geared toward the development of student agency. The study also found that patterns of school-home interactions/parental involvement were demarcated by the schools’ performance statuses. How and what schools communicate with families are likely issues that need to be addressed, particularly as it involves parental role constructions and academic socialization. Lastly, the findings identified consistently strong perceptions of pervasiveness in accountability demands with some variability in negative affect. Relatedly, evidence of accountability effects on teachers’ personalization practices was limited. The findings suggest that schools can transpose the experience of external accountability—through shared norms, values, and expectations—to high internal accountability reflective of school personnel’s strong sense of personal accountability. However, this study also highlights the need to consider the potential for “depersonalization” associated with the impingement of teachers’ professional integrity and identity due to high stress accountability demands. Limitations in the data suggest that more research is needed to clarify the accountability-personalization linkage. Other implications for practice, research, and policy are also discussed in terms of a relational-developmental perspective on personalization in high schools. Overall, this study adds to the resurgent set of research that examines students’ nonacademic skills and needs and contributes significantly to the theoretical and empirical foundations of Personalization for Academic and Social Learning (PASL).
Identifier: FSU_FALL2017_Roberts_fsu_0071E_14239 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: November 02, 2017.
Keywords: Accountability, Bioecological Systems Theory, Personalization, School Effectiveness, Social Cognitive Theory, Social-Emotional
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Stacey A. Rutledge, Professor Directing Dissertation; John R. Reynolds, University Representative; Patrice Iatarola, Committee Member; Linda Schrader, Committee Member; Lara Perez-Felkner, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Education and state
Educational evaluation
Education (Secondary)
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Roberts, R. L. (2017). Perceptions of Personalization for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning in High Schools: Social Cognitive and Ecological Perspectives. Retrieved from