Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2018

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Victoria Robinson

Honors Major

Biological Sciences


Little is known about what factors influence academic perceptions in school-aged children, especially in urban populations. Most research has looked at internal aspects of education (i.e., amount of homework, amount of recess given, etc.), but have excluded observing environmental components of the children’s lives outside of school and at home. Therefore, the goal of our study was to explore which elements of children’s social and economic upbringing has the greatest correlation and influence on forming positive academic attitudes. We carried out a pilot study that gave a questionnaire to English-speaking seven-to-18-year-old patients and parents/guardians within an urban pediatric emergency department. The patient questionnaire included three questions regarding his/her academic attitude. Data were analyzed with IBM SPSS software package.

One-hundred twenty-two patients were enrolled aged 7-18-years-old. The patient cohort was 37.7% male, 61.5% female, 0.8% other and 32% of subjects identified as Hispanic/Latino. In terms of race, 57.8% identified as white, 14.1% as African-American, 3.9% as Asian, 1.6% as American Indian/Native, 20.3% as other/mixture of races, and 2.3% declined to answer. The mean age was 12.4 years old (SD 3.1). Sixty-three percent of the subjects had a calculated positive academic attitude ranking. Variables that had noteworthy associations included sibling order, parent marital status, knowledge of grades, and the parental expectations that their child will graduate high school/college. Those with the greatest significance were, in descending order, parental expectations that their children would graduate college, knowledge of their children’s grades, and their expectations that their children would graduate high school.