Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Mike Vetter

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristin Cook

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Cassady


This instrumental, multisite case study examines the role of secondary teachers in preparing high school students for the non-cognitive skills needed to persist in and graduate from college, using Bourdieu’s (1984) and Lin’s (1999) social capital theory as a guiding framework. Non-cognitive skills are defined as the “behaviors, thoughts, and feelings” of students (Borghans, 2008). Data collection for this study is based on semi-structured interviews via telecommunications with secondary educators and postsecondary student success practitioners and electronic archived documentation of non-cognitive skills found to be important for college success by the interviewees. In this study, college success is defined as graduating from college (2-year or 4-year degree attainment) within six years of completing high school (National Clearinghouse, 2019). The bounds of the case study include one public school district and one public state university in a large, metropolitan area of the southeastern United States. The guiding research questions are as follows:

  1. What non-cognitive skills do secondary teachers and postsecondary student success practitioners believe low-income, underrepresented minority students need for success in college?
  2. In what ways do secondary teachers prepare students for the non-cognitive skills needed in college?

Available for download on Wednesday, October 19, 2022