Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Psychology


Psychology & Child Development


Lisa Sweatt, PhD.


For many decades, the number of minority students, particularly Hispanics, dropping out from school has been noticeable to say the least (Rumberger, 1995). These students have in the past and continue in the present to struggle with the educational system, and it is certain, but not clear, that various factors contribute to Hispanics’ poor academic performance and not being able to graduate from High School (Rumbaut & Cornelius, 1995). Some of these factors are organized in three groups: School-Related; Parental-Related; and Student-Related. Thus, this study is an attempt to understand how immigrant students and parents are currently responding to the challenges of dealing with a foreign educational system. The focus is primarily on how students have to manage a sense of identity while they are trying to incorporate to their schools, and how parents are supporting their children and keeping a dialogue with the schools. It was hypothesized that students’ overall ethnic identity would correlate significantly with students’ psychological sense of school belonging. Quantitative results showed no statistical correlations between students’ ethnic identity and students’ sense of school membership. A forced entry multiple regression analysis was conducted to evaluate if any of the subscale scores on the MEIM predicted sense of school belongingness. The predictors were Affirmation and Belonging, Ethnic Identity Achievement, Ethnic Behaviors, and Other-group orientation, while the criterion variable was the total score on the PSSM. The Affirmation and Belonging subscale was the only subscale that was significantly related to psychological sense of school belongingness.