Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Robyne Elder

Second Advisor

Kathy Grover

Third Advisor

Jackie Ramey


Education in the United States has changed significantly since its onset. Due to these changes, there is an increased need for social-emotional skills for success in school and in life. The study centered on how focusing intermediate elementary school students on improving their behavior could influence their academic achievement. Though there is much literature on social-emotional skills, self-efficacy, student agency, goal-setting, and academic achievement, few researchers have conducted studies to connect these concepts. In this study, students assessed their current behavioral skills using the mySAEBRS (Illuminate Education, n.d.). Using the results, students set improvement goals in one of three behavioral areas: social, emotional, or academic. Teachers monitored weekly check-ins on how students progressed toward those goals. The researcher collected pre- and post-academic achievement data from three benchmarking websites to determine any connection between behavioral goal-setting and academic achievement. The individual results for students who set goals in the three areas (social, emotional, and academic) did not show statistically significant academic growth. Likewise, in comparing those that set goals using the prescribed process and those that did not, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Themes emerged related to the drastic toll the COVID-19 pandemic had on students’ academic and social-emotional progress, as well as the continued need for social-emotional skill instruction and individualization of learning. Further study is needed to determine the actual impact goal-setting for behavioral improvement may have on academic achievement.

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