Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


Academic achievement, behavior, and school connectedness have long been considered central measures for assessing students’ optimal functioning in school. With the growing interest in positive education and its’ inclusion of well-being as a central educational goal, attention has been turned to the extent to which these traditional measures of school functioning are related to students’ well-being. Based on a sample of 314 Israeli middle school students from one school, this study focuses on the relationship between the latter measures of school functioning and students’ well-being, operationalized as life satisfaction, positive and negative affect, hope, and gratitude. Using structural equational modelling, our findings revealed that GPA, teachers’ reports of disruptive behavior, and students’ reports of school connectedness predict students’ well-being, with school connectedness as the strongest predictor of all five well-being measures. This suggests that a sense of connectedness is more crucial to students’ well-being than their academic achievements or behavior in school. Surprisingly, students’ disruptive behavior as reported by teachers was slightly, but significantly, positively associated with life satisfaction, hope and positive affect. Further inquiry into this curious finding revealed that disruptive behavior is related to higher well-being primarily for students of middle range academic attainment (GPA of 64-84) when controlling for connectedness to school. Based on this finding, we suggest that within the school context better behavior among average achievers may be a potential sign of a maladaptive response to being left outside the schools’ radar while disruptive behavior among average achievers may in fact be the more resilient response. Attention is given to this interpretation of the finding as well as to more general implications of the importance of school connectedness for students’ well-being.


This work was supported by the Center for Learning Skills at Israel Sci-Tech School Network, and by the Research Unit of the College of Business Administration at the College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon Le’zion, Israel.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.