Capstone/Dissertation Title

How can educators ensure academic achievement despite a lack of basic needs?

Term

2009

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAEd

Abstract

This capstone is a study of how poverty and unmet basic needs affect student achievement. Poverty is a risk factor affecting 13 million children in the United States. The basic needs referred to are those researched by Abraham Maslow. This study focused on the first three tiers of Maslow's research: physiological needs, safety needs, and belonging and love needs. Action research was used in an urban classroom of 22 second graders, as well as with parents and other teachers in the school. Methods included surveys, attitude scale, journaling, The Mastery Learning Theory of Benjamin Bloom, observation, and informal interviews. The research concluded that there was a correlation between unmet needs and more difficulty in school and that journaling and interviews were successful methods of helping children understand and change that correlation. Lastly, this study concluded that basic needs education or a health curriculum is a necessity in the elementary years.

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