Date of Award

6-1997

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Jack Huhtala

Abstract

The purpose of this research study was to investigate the relationship between sociometric status (how well a student is liked by his or her peers) and academic achievement in school. The recent research on the topic shows that children who are liked by their peers in school tend to achieve academic success, whereas those children who are disliked by their peers are inclined to do poorly in their academic endeavors (Wentzel & Asher, 1995; Ollendick, Weist, Borden, & Greene, 1992; Wentzel, 1991; Parker & Asher, 1987). The four categories that have been established, based on surveys, to identify the sociometric status of students are: popular, neglected, rejected, and controversial (Wentzel & Asher, 1995). This research study took place in a K-5 elementary school in an upper-middle class community in Oregon. Twenty-four fourth grade students acted as participants in this project. The data collected for this study consist of classroom observations during work and free time periods, results of a sociometric survey, and students' final scores for the second quarter grading period. In order to maintain the participants' right to privacy, pseudonyms have been used for all who took part in this study. Upon reviewing the data from student grades, I discovered that the students in this study earned scores ranging from 79% to 98%. Clearly, all of the student grades were above average. These findings did not reflect those found in the research literature. However, when correlating these scores with the results of the sociometric survey, I found that there were differences among the average grades for each sociometric group. As none of the participants in this study were performing '''poorly'' in school, I began to look for behavioral characteristics which were common in each sociometric group. The results of this examination revealed the following behaviors. The students in all three of the sociometric categories frequently conversed with ' peers during work and free time periods. However, the groupings of popular and neglected children showed a greater tendency to stay on task during work periods than did the rejected children. In addition, some of the children in the rejected group displayed physical and verbal aggression toward peers. These aggressive behaviors were not observed among any of the students in the popular or neglected sociometric groups.

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