Testing the social-ecological factors of school belonging i

刊名: Social Psychology of Education 作者:Kelly-Ann Allen1,3  · Kate C. Fortune1  · Gökmen Arslan2 来源:Social Psychology of Education 发布时间:2021-07-07 10:38
Keywords School belonging Socio-ecological model Sense of belonging Adolescence * Kelly-Ann Allen Kelly-Ann.Allen@Monash.edu 1 Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia 2 Faculty of Education, Mehmet Akif Ersoy Univer
Keywords School belonging · Socio-ecological model · Sense of belonging · Adolescence
* Kelly-Ann Allen Kelly-Ann.Allen@Monash.edu 1 Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia 2 Faculty of Education, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University in Burdur, Burdur, Turkey 3 The Centre for Wellbeing Science, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
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1 Introduction
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has identified that 1 in 3 Australian students do not feel like they belong to their school (OECD 2018); this figure differs for students of varying cultural backgrounds (De Bortoli, 2018; Parker et al. 2021). Very few attempts have been made to understand the needs of students with differing immigrant backgrounds especially in regards to their sense of belonging in schools (Correa-Velez et al. 2010; Due et al. 2016). In order to offer direction for interventions not only within Australia but also worldwide, it is impor- tant to understand the socio-ecological factors of school belonging within a school system and how they may differ between students with varied immigrant back- grounds. This study, therefore, aims to investigate school belonging and immigrant background using a socio-ecological lens and specifically examine: 1. Native-born students (i.e., those students who had at least one parent born in the country); 2.
Second-generation students (i.e., those born in the country of assessment but whose parent(s) were born in another country); and 3. First-generation students (those stu- dents born outside the country of assessment and whose parents were also born in another country).
1.1  Socio-ecological model and school belonging
School belonging has been defined as “the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in the school environment” (Goodenow, 1993, p. 80). Previous research has also emphasised that school belong- ing is systemic in nature and determined by multiple experiences, interactions, and factors that commonly occur for students at school (Arslan, 2020; Allen, Kern, et al., 2018). Allen et al. (2016) proposed a Socio-Ecological Model of School Belong- ing, adapted from Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) socio-ecological framework for human development, used to investigate the factors that affect school belonging within edu- cational settings. A socio-ecological perspective is important for school belonging as studies have shown that individual characteristics, as well as relational and school environmental factors, are associated with school belonging (Allen, Vella-Brodrick, et al., 2018; Chiu et al. 2016).
At the centre of a socio-ecological framework is the individual (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). This level encompasses the student’s biological and dispositional character- istics that may affect how they relate to peers, parents, school staff, and other socio- ecological levels within secondary schools (Allen et al. 2016). The microsystem focuses on the relationships students have with their friends, family, teachers, and peers at school (Allen, et al. 2016; Saab, 2009). The mesosystem represents school resources, management processes, policies, rules, and practices that can influence students’ belongingness (Allen et al. 2016; Libbey, 2004; Saab, 2009). For instance, school policies and procedures are intended to promote a student’s sense of fairness and security (CDC 2009; Libbey, 2004). The mesosystem also includes the interplay between the microsystem and individual levels (Allen, et al. 2016). The exosystem
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comprises of other schools, organisations, external services, extended families, local businesses, and community groups that exist outside of the school (Allen et al. 2016; Brown et al. 2014; Saab, 2009). The macrosystem includes features such as national or federal government influence on the educational system through policies, legisla- tion, and data collection, and considers the cultural and historical climate of each school (Allen et al. 2016; Saab, 2009). This level can influence other levels within the socio-ecological framework, for example, in the case of government-driven national data collection (e.g., The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy [NAPLAN]), which may have multiple influences across the mesosys- tem, microsystem, and individual levels (Allen et al. 2016). Lastly, the chronosystem identifies the interactions between the socio-ecological levels of a school across a trajectory of time (Allen and Kern, 2017; Allen, Kern, et al., 2018; Allen, Vella- Brodrick, et al., 2018). This study aims to explore the Individual, Microsystem, and Mesosystem levels available from the PISA dataset (OECD, 2017) and examine how each relates to school belonging among native-born, second- and first-generation students.
1.1.1  Individual-level variables
Test anxiety occurs when an individual develops a negative appraisal of perfor- mance-evaluative situations (Putwain and Daley 2014). In school, academic anxi- ety can manifest as a result of stress associated with stigma. It has been found that students of ethnic minority have greater stigma awareness and thus higher academic anxiety compared to ethnic majority peers (Gillen-O’Neel et al. 2011). Although the relationship between test anxiety and school belonging has not been directly assessed in the literature (Onyeizugbo, 2010), it has been found that general anxi- ety has an inverse relationship with school belonging (Shochet et al. 2011). Fur- thermore, it was found that students with low academic hardiness or non-produc- tive coping styles (i.e., inability to control one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours towards stressful demands) have a lower sense of school belonging (Abdollahi et al. 2020; Frydenberg et al. 2009).
Teamwork orientation is the degree to which an individual feels positively towards working in a team, as reflected in their cooperativeness and their commit- ment to interpersonal relationships and group goals (Mustafa et al. 2017). Indi- viduals with a positive disposition towards collaboration and teamwork are more inclined to have a stronger sense of belonging in school. This is because participat- ing in group work can make students feel more engaged with their peers as they work towards a collective goal (Keyes, 2019). Nevertheless, students must first have the desire to participate in group work, which is unlikely if they are lonely or feel that they do not belong (le Roux and Armien, 2010).
1.1.2  Microsystem level variables
Parental support is the extent to which a parent provides academic and social sup- port (e.g., care, compassion, and encouragement). Studies have found that students identify more with their school and teachers when their parents are more involved
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in their schooling, which can result in students having a stronger sense of belonging to school (Allen, Kern, et al., 2018; Allen, Vella-Brodrick, et al., 2018; Jose et al. 2012; Law et al. 2013; Wang and Eccles, 2012).
The social interactions students have with their teachers can also significantly influence their school belonging (McMahon et al. 2009). Supportive teachers are friendly, fair, encouraging, and respectful (Allen et al. 2021a). They expect the best from their students and help them to meet their needs for autonomy and compe- tence (Allen and Kern, 2019). A large amount of research shows that strong teacher- student relationships increase student’s school belonging and prevent alienation (e.g., Bouchard and Berg, 2017; Chhuon and Wallace, 2012; Chiu et al. 2016; Crouch et al. 2014; Hattie, 2009; Johnson, 2009; McHugh et al. 2013; Wallace et al. 2012). By showing attention and care to individual students in school, teachers can play an essential part in improving the sense of belonging of their students (Allen et al., 2021b).
1.1.3  Mesosystem level variables
Schools can create an atmosphere that either supports or prevents a student’s sense of belonging. In particular, the OECD (2017b) has found that for adolescents to develop the strong socialisation skills needed to form satisfying connections with peers and teachers, they require a fair and disciplined academic setting. This has been further supported by a number of studies, which have found that disciplinary systems can significantly influence a student’s sense of school belonging (Arum and Velez, 2012; Chiu et al. 2016). An orderly classroom environment can have a pow- erful effect on students’ sense of school belonging as it creates an atmosphere that promotes learning and fosters the development of supportive social networks (Allen and Bowles, 2012, 2014).
1.1.4  Sociodemographic variables
A students’ sense of school belonging may also be influenced by gender, with some research finding that females report having greater belongingness compared to their male counterparts (Goodenow, 1993; Goodenow and Grady, 1993; Ho, 2009; Van Houtte and Stevens, 2009). However, other research has not found a variation in school belonging across gender (Cemalcilar, 2010; Parker et al. 2021; Sari, 2012; Witherspoon et al. 2009). A potential explanation for the gender difference in the sense of belonging is that schools and teachers possess behavioural expectations that are more aligned with females of a younger age (Banse et al. 2010). Nevertheless, further research suggests that as students progress through school, the difference in school belonging across gender reduces (Witherspoon and Ennett, 2011). Gender may influence school belonging, which could be impacted by the school year level.
Students from more affluent families are more inclined to have higher school belonging as they may be able to afford the necessary resources that can help them to assimilate into the school environment. This has been supported by many stud- ies which have found socioeconomic status to be significantly associated with stu- dents’ perception of belonging at school (Allen, Kern, et al., 2018; Demanet and
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Van Houtte, 2012; Gillen-O’Neel and Fuligni, 2013; Sari, 2012; Van Houtte and Stevens, 2009; Wang and Eccles, 2012).
1.2  Immigration background and school belonging
Immigrant students’ (second- and first-generation) sense of school belonging is important for their overall adjustment to the host country since the school is often the first socio-cultural institution they encounter outside of their home environment (Chiu et al. 2012). Acculturative stress, which is the negative psychological expe- riences associated with integrating into a new culture (Berry, 2005), is one of the greatest risk factors for students with immigrant backgrounds (Blanco-Vega et al. 2008). Immigration can be a life-changing ordeal that results in substantial loss of customs, friends, and family. The need to assimilate to the host country’s stand- ards, moral values, and language can be challenging, especially in the school setting (Georgiades et al. 2013). According to Berry (1997), this transition is often accom- panied by feelings of anxiety, alienation, identity confusion, depression, marginality, and psychosomatic symptoms. Immigrant youth experience these feelings directly or vicariously through their extended family’s experience as immigrants (Georgia- des et al. 2013).
Families with an immigrant background experience linguistic, economic, social and cultural barriers, discrimination, and prejudice in school and neighbourhood settings, which can result in students reporting a poorer sense of school belong- ing compared to native peers (Bui, 2012; Chiu et al. 2012; Pong and Zeiser, 2012; Smokowski et al. 2009). However, this cannot be generalised to all immigrant youth because some immigrant youth are less impacted by these challenges and can develop a stronger sense of belonging than native-born students (Pong and Zeiser, 2012). This has been referred to as the Immigrant Paradox (Pong and Zeiser, 2012) and has been confirmed in Australian-based research where first- and second-gener- ation students have stronger school belonging than native-born students (De Bortoli,
2018).
1.3  Current study
To our knowledge, no research to date has specifically investigated how the socio- ecological factors of school belonging differ between immigrant and native-born stu- dents in Australia. This study seeks to investigate these factors of school belonging among native-born, second- and first-generation students using an adapted version of Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological model of school belonging (Allen et al. 2016).
The variables presented in the PISA (2015)1 data will be organised into the three innermost layers of the socio-ecological model: Individual-level constructs (Achiev- ing Motivation, Test Anxiety, Collaboration and Teamwork Dispositions, Economic, Social, and Cultural Status [ESCS], and Gender), microsystem constructs (Teacher
1 The PISA 2018 report was not available at the time of writing this article.
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Fairness and Parents’ Emotional Support), and the mesosystem construct (Disci- plinary Climate). ESCS is a score comprised from indicators that measure paren- tal education and occupation, and home possessions (e.g., number of books in the home).
It is anticipated that Individual-Level (Gender, ESCS, Test Anxiety, Achieving Motivation, Collaboration and Teamwork Dispositions), Microsystem (Parents’ Emotional Support and Teacher Fairness), and Mesosystem factors (Disciplinary Climate) will be significantly related to school belonging in Australian high school students, and second- and first-generation students will differ significantly from native-born students on these socio-ecological factors of school belonging.
2  Method 2.1  Participants
This study utilised secondary data from the PISA 2015 survey (OECD, 2017). The PISA Australian stratified sample originally consisted of 14,530 fifteen-year-old stu- dents from 758 schools, 7,163 females (49.3%), 7,367 males (50.7%), native-born (75.7%); second-generation (9.3%), and first-generation (9.8%). PISA’s desired target population consisted of students who were enrolled either part-time or full- time in educational institutions, foreign schools, vocational training, or other related educational programmes within Australia. PISA’s target population was refined fur- ther based on age: students at the start of the period of assessment had to be aged between 15 years and 3 full months and 16 years and 2 full months. However, a one-month variation was allowed so that the population could be somewhat younger (15 years and 2 full months) or older (16 years and 3 full months).
2.2  Measures
Questionnaire indices are presented below and derived from The Student Question- naire (OECD 2018), which included, in total, 54 derived constructs. Only nine of the derived variables were used in the current study considering the school belong- ing literature and the relevance to school belonging in the data set. Item response theory scaling was used to construct the measures (OECD 2017c). All of the meas- ures were computed to give a total score.
2.2.1  Sense of school belonging
The Sense of School Belonging Scale includes 6 items and is designed to measure student’s social connectedness at school (OECD, 2017c). Students answered accord- ing to a four-point Likert scale, from 1 (“Strongly agree”) to 4 (“Strongly disagree”).
Examples of items used were: “I make friends easily,” “I feel like an outsider,”
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and “I feel like I belong at school.” Scores for each item are summed to equal a total score ranging from 6 to 24. Higher scores indicated greater levels of school belonging. In this study, the internal reliability of the scale was found to be good (approx. ∝  = 0.83).
2.2.2  Immigration status
Students self-reported the countries in which they and their mother and father were born (OECD 2017c). The Index of Immigration Status was calculated from variables with the following categories: (1) native-born students, (2) second-gen- eration students, and (3) first-generation.
2.3  Sociodemographic variables 2.3.1  Economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS)
The Economic, Social, and Cultural Status Scale is composed of the following: highest parental occupation, parental education, and home possessions, including the number of books located at home (OECD 2017c). These three components were chosen because socioeconomic status is usually indicated by income, occu- pational status, and education. Specifically, family wealth was assessed by the existence of household items. Scoring high on the ESCS scale indicated a high degree of socioeconomic status.
2.4  Individual-level variables 2.4.1  Achieving motivation
The Achieving Motivation Scale includes 5 items and is designed to measure a student’s degree of persistence towards their studies (OECD 2017c). Students answered according to a four-point Likert Scale, from 1 (“Strongly disagree”) to 4 (“Strongly agree”). Examples of items used were: “I want top grades in most or all of my courses,” “I want to be one of the best students in my class,” and “I see myself as an ambitious person.” The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 5 to 20. Higher scores indicated greater levels of motivation to achieve. In this study, the internal reliability of the scale was good (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.84).
2.4.2  Test anxiety
The Test Anxiety Scale includes 5 items and is designed to measure the anxiety stu- dents experience during any exam (OECD 2017c). Students answered according to
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a four-point Likert scale, from 1 (“Strongly disagree”) to 4 (“Strongly agree”). An example of an item used was, “I often worry that it will be difficult for me to take the test.” The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 5 to 20. Higher scores indicated greater levels of test anxiety. In this study, the inter- nal reliability score for test anxiety was good (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.85).
2.4.3  Collaboration and teamwork dispositions
The Collaboration and Teamwork Dispositions Scale includes 8 items and is designed to measure student’s views towards different aspects of cooperation (OECD 2017c).
Students answered according to a four-point Likert scale, from 1 (“Strongly disagree”) to 4 (“Strongly agree”). The items represent two distinct scales, one that measures a student’s enjoyment of co-operation and the other, the value of co-operation for the stu- dent. An example of an item used for student’s enjoyment of cooperation is “I am a good listener,” and for the value of cooperation is “I prefer working as part of a team to working alone.” The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 4 to 16 for the two distinct scales. Higher scores indicated greater collaboration and teamwork dispositions. In this study, the internal reliability for value cooperation was good, and for enjoy cooperation, it was fair (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.82 and = 0.72, respectively).
2.5  Microsystem level variables 2.5.1  Teacher fairness
The Teacher Fairness Scale includes 6 items and is designed to measure how often stu- dents experienced unfair treatment by teachers over the past 12 months (OECD 2017c).
Students rated the frequency of occurrence of unfair teacher treatment on a four-point Likert scale, from 1 (“Never or almost never”) to 4 (“Once a week or more”). Exam- ples of items used were: “Teachers called on me less often than they called on other students” and “Teachers graded me harder than they graded other students.” The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 6 to 24. Higher scores indicated greater frequency of teacher unfairness. In this study, the internal reliability of the scale was poor (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.64).
2.5.2  Parents’ emotional support
The Parents’ Emotional Support Scale includes 4 items and is designed to measure the student’s perspective towards the emotional support received from their parents (OECD 2017c). Students answered according to a four-point Likert scale, from 1 (“Strongly dis- agree”) to 4 (“Strongly agree”). Examples of items included were: “My parents encour- age me to be confident” and “My parents are interested in my school activities”. The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 4 to 20. Higher scores indicated greater levels of parental emotional support perceived by students. In this study, the internal reliability of the scale was good (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.87).
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2.6  Mesosystem level variables 2.6.1  Disciplinary climate
The Disciplinary Climate Scale includes 5 items and is designed to measure the frequency with which interruptions occur in science classes (OECD 2017c).
Students rated the frequency of poor disciplinary practice on a four-point Lik- ert scale, from 1 (“Every lesson”) to 4 (“Never or hardly ever”). Sample items included: “Students don’t listen to what the teacher says,” “The teacher has to wait a long time for the students to quiet down,” “Students cannot work well.” The scores for each item were summed to equal a total score ranging from 5 to 20. Higher scores indicated greater frequency of poor disciplinary practice in sci- ence classes. In this study, the internal reliability of the scale was strong (Cron- bach’s alpha = 0.92).
2.7  Data analysis
Standard multiple regression analyses were conducted to assess which socio-ecolog- ical variables was associated with school belonging amongst native-born, second- and first-generation students. The individual-level variables (Gender, ESCS, Achiev- ing Motivation, Test Anxiety, and Collaboration and Teamwork Dispositions), microsystem variables (Parents’ Emotional Support and Teacher Fairness), and the mesosystem variable (Disciplinary Climate) were included in the analysis. Three one-way ANOVA analyses were then used to assess whether there were statistically significant differences in the independent variables: Test Anxiety, Teacher Fairness, and Parents’ Emotional Support, across immigration status. Index of Immigration Status was used as the selection variable and grouping variable in the regression and ANOVA analyses, respectively. School belonging was entered as the dependent vari- able in the standard multiple regression analyses.
3  Results
The mean, standard deviations, minimum, maximum, skewness, and kurtosis values for all variables were calculated and are presented in Table 1.
The correlations between socio-ecological variables and school belonging are presented in Table 2. Correlation results indicated that School Belonging is signifi- cantly and negatively associated with Test Anxiety and Teacher Fairness as well as positively correlated with Achieving Motivation, Enjoying Cooperation, Valuing Cooperation, and Parents’ Emotional Support for all generations.
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3.1  Multiple regression analyses
Standard multiple regression analyses were used to assess which socio-ecological variables were significantly associated with school belonging amongst native-born, second-, and first-generation students. Assumptions were checked prior to conduct- ing the multiple regression analyses. The assumption of multicollinearity was eval- uated by the Tolerance and Inflation Factors (VIFs). This assumption was met as the variables had a VIF value less than 10 and a Tolerance value greater than 0.10 across native-born, second-, and first-generation students (Pallant, 2007).
Inspection of the normal probability plot of standardised residuals and the scat- terplots of standardised residuals against standardised values, indicated that the assumptions of normality, linearity, and homoscedasticity of residuals were met. The residuals were roughly rectangularly distributed and had no obvious systematic pat- tern. A series of Pearson’s correlations were performed between (a) the independent variables and the dependent variable and (b) each of the independent variables.
Unstandardised (B) and standardised (β) regression coefficients and squared semi-partial (or ‘part’) correlations (sr2) for each independent variable in the regres- sion model are reported in Table 3. For native-born students, Individual-Level,

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