Social–Emotional Factors Affecting Achievement Outcomes Among Disadvantaged Students: Closing the Achievement Gap


Despite concentrated efforts at improving inferior academic outcomes among disadvantaged students, a substantial achievement gap between the test scores of these students and others remains (Jencks & Phillips, 1998; National Center for Education Statistics, 2000a, 2000b; Valencia & Suzuki, 2000). Existing research used ecological models to document social– emotional factors at multiple levels of influence that undermine academic performance. This article integrates ideas from various perspectives in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary model that will inform policy makers, administrators, and schools about the social–emotional factors that act as both risk and protective factors for disadvantaged students’ learning and opportunities for academic success. Four critical social–emotional components that influence achievement performance (academic and school attachment, teacher support, peer values, and mental health) are reviewed.

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