Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

James Stronge

Committee Member

Jennifer Parrish


The study's purpose was to examine the degree and manner in which students have experienced a climate of academic optimism in the setting. The study was intended to provide a means for student participants to reflect on the structures currently in place within the setting through the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) process. The study investigated three research questions. How does participation in the AI process influence students' perceptions of features of school climate, as measured by shifts in Student Academic Optimism (SAO) and outputs generated during the AI process in the school selected for the study? What themes emerged from participants in the Inquire phase of the AI process that support SAO? What action plans emerged based on the themes and provocative propositions created related to SAO during and in the 2 months following the AI process? The study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design to collect data from a quantitative survey on SAO, a qualitative survey on the AI process, and physical artifacts and audio recordings generated during the AI process. The study's findings revealed that: (a) the results of the survey on SAO were non-significant; (b) the AI process influenced student participants' perceptions of features of school climate, indicated through a myriad of outputs; (c) themes related to academic press were most common, followed by student trust in teachers, general school climate, and student identification with school; and (d) design statements and action plans related to academic press and student identification with school were generated.




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