School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Angela Ford


Hope, Professor-student Rapport, Undergraduate Achievement, Undergraduate Student Success, Hope Theory


Education | Higher Education


The United States experiences unfavorable outcomes in undergraduate academic achievement despite years of research, especially for historically marginalized students. Accepting that student achievement is the result of the complex interplay between individual and environmental characteristics, tertiary institutions seek useful levers by which to raise academic achievement. Previous research has established that the relationship between a teacher and student can affect student achievement, making professor-student rapport one of the aforementioned levers. However, the mechanism through which professor-student rapport acts remains unclear. The current study explores the mediating effect of hope on the relationship between professor-student rapport and achievement. Utilizing a quantitative correlational design, the researcher conducts a mediation analysis to determine if student hope has a significant mediating effect in a sample of 218 undergraduate students at a mid-sized university in the United States. Participants responded to a survey with demographic data and completed the Adult Dispositional Hope Scale and the Student–Instructor Rapport Scale-9. The total number of points in a specific course out of possible points was paired with participants’ survey data. Analysis of the data did not support the presence of a significant relationship between the mediator hope and the outcome variable achievement and therefore the conditions for mediation were not present. However, the researcher found that hope and rapport were significantly related. This research was completed during a global pandemic which may have confounded the results; therefore, this researcher recommends that it be replicated at another time when social restrictions are not in play.