Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Psychology

First Advisor

Daniel B Hajovsky


The importance of nonacademic skills, termed academic enablers, in facilitating and supplementing academic success is well-established (DiPerna et al., 2002; DiPerna et al., 2005). Previous investigations of academic enablers have established engagement, or the degree students interact with academic activities, and social skills, or the learned behaviors that facilitate positive interactions with others, as key to understanding the behaviors essential for academic success (DiPerna et al., 2002; Gresham & Elliott, 1984). However, less research has established the nature of the relationship between these academic enablers and reading and math achievement, especially across time. The current study aims to test the predictive relations, including the direct and indirect effects, of behavioral engagement and social skills on reading and math achievement for students in the fourth and fifth grade using a half-longitudinal design with a large longitudinal sample (N = 11,246, ECLS-K:2011). Results showed previous levels of social skills demonstrated a moderate positive effect on future levels of behavioral engagement (β = 0.14). However, the results did not show evidence for student-rated behavioral engagement predicting future levels of standardized reading or math achievement. Future researchers may examine how social skills and behavioral engagement may be associated with other important student outcomes. Further, researchers may also consider how behavioral engagement may differentially contribute to the effects of social skills on student reading and mathematics ratings compared to standardized reading and mathematics assessments. Other possible explanations and implications for future research are discussed.

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


Academic enablers, School engagement, Social skills, Behavioral engagement, Emotional engagement

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.