The Effects of 21st Century Skills on Behavioral Disengagement in Sacramento High Schools

  • Gregory J. PalardyEmail author
  • Russell W. Rumberger
Part of the International Study of City Youth Education book series (SCYE, volume 2)


Using a sample of 2541 students attending 25 high schools in Sacramento, California, this study examines the association between students’ 21st century skills and their level of behavioral disengagement at school. Behavioral disengagement pertains to problem behaviors at school such as poor attendance, truancy, tardiness, and disciplinary problems and has been linked to dropout and poor academic performance. 21st century skills encompass a range of non-cognitive skills, dispositions, and types of school engagement, many of which have been linked to educational trajectories, career success, and long-term well-being. The results show that a range of 21st century skills are associated with behavioral disengagement, accounting for 20% its variance. Furthermore, ethnic/racial, gender, and socioeconomic differences were found with male and underserved groups having higher levels of behavioral disengagement. However, controlling for 21st century skills reduced the magnitudes of the demographic differences by 25–30%. Finally, the socioeconomic composition and emotional engagement composition of the school were associated with behavioral disengagement, which underscores the importance of peer influences and the social context of the school to students’ school behaviors.


21st century skills School composition School misconduct Behavioral engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Gevirtz Graduate School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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