This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Examining Relationships between Enabling Structures, Academic Optimism and Student Achievement




Anderson, Karen

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between enabling structures, academic optimism and student achievement; to determine whether academic optimism served as a mediator between the two and to discover teacher perceptions of the relationship of their success to enabling structures and academic optimism using a mixed methods research design. Student achievement was measured using both criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests. Manuscripts present the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses. Findings indicated a relationship between academic optimism, enabling structures, and student achievement. In addition, academic optimism appeared to serve as a mediator between enabling structures and norm-referenced assessments but did not correlate with criterion-referenced tests. Teachers identified specific enabling structures as facilitating successful implementation of their duties. They also identified elements of academic optimism as enabling them to be successful. Proactive administrator action was cited repeatedly by teachers as a factor which seemed to have a positive impact on their work. This study serves as the second inquiry to establish connections between enabling structures, academic optimism and student achievement, measured at the school level, in elementary schools. The use of mediation also offers a unique perspective to the literature, and the qualitative aspect of the study delineates specific structures which appear to facilitate teacher success.