Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Deborah Hardy, EdD

Second Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Third Advisor

Nancy N. Heilbronner, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Kevin Smith, PhD


This study examined the relationships between Weight Category (healthy-weight and overweight/obese) of middle school students and school-related factors such as academic achievement, number of school absences, student engagement, student self-beliefs, and student interpersonal support. A sample of convenience of teachers (n = 20) and students (n = 227) was taken from a middle school in Connecticut. The teacher participants completed the RAPS-TM for each student in the study which measured teacher perception of student engagement in language arts and mathematics learning activities. The student participants completed the RAPS-SM which measured student perceptions of engagement, self-beliefs, and interpersonal support. In addition, the CMT Reading, CMT Writing, and CMT Mathematics scores and the number of school absences were recorded for each student participant.

These data were analyzed through causal comparative and correlational designs to determine if there were relationships between Weight Category and school-related factors. The results of the MANOVA indicated overweight/obese middle school students scored significantly lower on the CMT Reading test (F = 6.780, p = .010, partial eta squared = .031) and CMT Writing test (F = 4.262, p = .040, partial eta squared = .020) than healthy-weight middle school students. Overweight/obese students had significantly more absences (F = 11.085, p = .001, partial eta squared = .049) and were significantly less engaged in Mathematics learning activities (F = 8.362, p = .004, partial eta squared = .038) than their healthy-weight peers. The results of the multiple linear regression indicated that Language Arts Engagement, Domain Engagement, and Weight Category were significant predictors of CMT Reading scores (F(3,208) = 24.254, p < .001); Language Arts Engagement and Square Root of the Absences were significant predictors of CMT Writing scores (F(2,209) = 32.343 and p < .001); and Mathematics Engagement and Domain Engagement scores were significant predictors of CMT Mathematics scores (F(2,208) = 35.029, p < .001).