Grit and Engagement as Mediators of the Relation between Academic Support and Literacy Achievement in Ethnic Minority Elementary School Students

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The relation of academic support from teachers and peers with later literacy achievement in ethnic minority elementary school students is not well defined in previous literature. Earlier theoretical models suggest that other socioemotional constructs, such as engagement and motivation, may act as mediators in this link. In this study, the model is updated with grit, a new motivational construct that has been tied to positive academic outcomes. This study uses a multi-method, longitudinal design (N = 144; ethnic minority 3rd-5th grade students) and mediation analyses to investigate four models where the link between academic support (from teachers or peers) and academic achievement is mediated by either engagement or grit. While earlier studies suggested that teacher academic support is positively correlated with academic achievement among students, this study did not find that correlation. However, both grit and emotional engagement acted as significant mediators between peer academic support and literacy achievement.