Student Identification Across School Levels
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 6 No. 3 (2005): Vol-6-Issue-3-March-2005
As schools continue to grapple with the challenge of achieving success for all students many questions
come to mind. Despite continued efforts of educators to reach all students a number of students seem
to be left on the periphery and appear unreachable. How do we explain the failure of some students to
achieve academically despite remedial efforts and individualized instruction? Are students more
susceptible to intervention at a particular age? What can educators do to encourage such students to
take a more active role in their academic future?
Failure to identify with school has been suggested as one explanation for why some students
persistently fail to meet academic expectations. Identification with school has been conceptualized as
involving a sense of belonging and a valuing of school and school related outcomes (Voelkl 1997).
Students who fail to identify with school often experience a host of problems ranging from behavioral
problems, social and emotional withdrawal, and academic failure. These students are also at-risk for
delinquency and dropping out of school (Finn 1989, Finn & Voelkl 1993, Voelkl 1997). Empirical
research thus far has attempted to explain this failure to identify with school as being the result of
cultural expectations, prior experience with success in school, the structural environment of the school,
the regulatory environment of the school, stereotype threat, poverty, and peer-pressure (Finn 1989, Finn
& Voelkl 1993, Fordham 1996, Steele 1992, Voelkl 1997).