Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Sheila Gregory, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Trevor Turner, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Barbara Hill, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of the mixed method study was to examine the relationship between factors of graduate student engagement and academic achievement at a historically black college and university (HBCU). The independent variables were graduate student safety in the learning environment, graduate student to graduate student relationships, graduate student to faculty relationships, graduate students’ self-efficacy, graduate students’ motivation, graduate students’ faculty mentoring, graduate students’ integration, graduate students’ study habits, and graduate students’ use of technology. Qualitatively, correlational research was used to examine the extent of the relationship between independent variables and academic achievement. Qualitatively, the phenomenological approach was used to investigate graduate student perceptions of engagement factors and academic achievement. The mixed method helped analyze the convergence between qualitative and quantitative data. Miller and Cameron (2011) found that the mixed method of research has been used widely and accepted in the field of Education.

The quantitative data were collected from 209 graduate students. The data content validity was checked with the Pearson r 2-tailed correlation. The Pearson Correlation helped to test for a significant relationship between variables. Qualitative data were collected from the interviews of two graduate students from four different graduate departments equaling eight interview participants. One focus group with a minimum of three graduates was conducted from four different departments. A total of 16 graduate students participated in the focus groups. The researcher interpreted the statements from the interviews and focus groups and conducted a document analysis revealing codes and themes that were organized into an analysis matrix.

The findings revealed that there was a significant relationship between graduate students’ safety in the learning environment and academic achievement. There was a significant relationship between graduate student to student relationships and academic achievement. There was a significant relationship between (a) graduate student to faculty relationships and academic achievement, (b) graduate students’ self-efficacy and academic achievement, (c) graduate students’ motivation and academic achievement, (d) graduate students’ faculty mentoring and academic achievement, (e) graduate students’ integration and academic achievement, (f) graduate students’ study habits and academic achievement, and (g) graduate students’ use of technology and academic achievement.

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