Teachers' perceptions of the relationships among home environment, students' social and personal characteristics and academic performance

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


In the U.S. Virgin Islands, there has been concern about the low performance of public school students on national standardized tests. There was a need to understand possible reasons for the low performance.This study examined the extent to which home environment and students' social and personal characteristics were related to their academic performance. Two research questions guided the study: (1) What is the relationship between students' social and personal characteristics and their academic performance? (2) What is the relationship between students' home environment and their academic performance?A questionnaire was developed, piloted to address the research questions, and administered to all sixth grade teachers. Forty public school sixth grade classroom teachers in the St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands school district were surveyed. Inferential sampling methods were employed to include the entire survey population in the research. Students' social and personal characteristics were classified as cooperation, courtesy, dependability, ethnicity, industry, initiative, leadership, motivation, personal appearance, and self-discipline. Students' home environment was described by home type, students' guardian, occupation of students' guardian, and number of brothers and sisters at home.Aggregate mean responses were calculated for each category. That is, means of survey questions were combined to produce overall means for the categories. Comparison of category means were conducted utilizing independent t-tests at .05 level of significance to investigate differences in responses by dichotomous identifying characteristics of teachers. The selected dichotomous descriptive variables were age and education.Factors related to both students' social and personal characteristics, and home environment were strongly associated with students' academic performance. Students who exhibited above average levels of social and personal characteristics also had above average levels of academic performance. The results indicated that while all teachers perceived that information about students' social and personal characteristics was utilized at their school, they did not perceive that information about the students' home environment was similarly utilized at their schools.


Education, Elementary; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

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