Adolescents’ Stage-Environment Fit in Middle and High School: The Relationship Between Students’ Perceptions of Their Schools and Themselves

Abstract

This mixed-methods longitudinal project investigates the association between student perceptions of their schools and themselves.
Findings from the first two waves of data analysis with 894 middle and high school students in a midsized Great Lakes city
reveal similarities and differences between the grade levels (7th-10th) and their perceptions of their schools. Although 7th-grade
students enter middle school with the most positive feelings about their schools, they lose this feeling of euphoria by the
end of their academic year. In contrast, the 10th-grade females are the most positive of all students, recognizing school
characteristics which assist with their self-efficacy. Results from quantitative analyses indicate that student attitudes
toward school and a sense of school connectedness are linked to both self-esteem and academic self-efficacy.

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