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Author

Taylor Frost

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Karen P. Kochel

Abstract

Prior research suggests a link between inclusive pedagogy and higher academic achievement in students. The research proposes that using inclusive pedagogy creates a supportive classroom environment that facilitates feelings of student belongingness. Increased sense of belonging leads to increased classroom engagement which predicts greater academic achievement. The current study aims to evaluate the impact of ‘coffee chats,’ an experimental example of an inclusive practice, on measures of belongingness, engagement, and academic achievement. Coffee chats are informal meetings between student and instructor that are meant to facilitate open student-teacher relationships. During both the 2019 Fall and Spring semesters, Psychology 100 students were assigned to two groups. The experimental group was invited in small groups to a coffee chat with their instructor prior to the first test in the semester while the control group was invited to a coffee chat after the first test. All students completed a survey at time of test 1 that measured student perceptions of classroom belongingness and engagement. Results showed significant correlations between sense of belonging and student engagement as well as associations with measures of academic achievement. Results also showed that coffee chats had significant effects on academic achievement, but were not associated with belongingness or engagement. The findings support prior research proposing a link between belongingness, engagement, and academic achievement, but do not support research suggesting a link between inclusive pedagogy and belongingness. Coffee chats did significantly increase academic achievement, so further research needs to be done to validate the link between these constructs.

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