The Relationship Between School Climate and Student Achievement

Cone, Michele A
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The purpose of this study was to determine if a significant relationship exists between school climate and student achievement. Research shows aspects of school climate impact students, parents, teachers and administrators. Climate is global to the school yet exists as a microclimate in the classroom. The influencers of climate and reaction to climate are intertwined; as one influences the others, a variety of perspectives contribute to the overall picture. This study considers the teacher perspective as an indicator of climate as part of overall organizational health. As one must consider organizational health as a pertinent part of overall school climate, this research study utilized a reduced form of the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire designed by Bentley and Rempel to measure teacher morale (1980). Teachers from two schools within one district voluntarily and anonymously answered questions on ten subtopics reflecting their experiences as a teacher in the school environment. This organizational health inventory provided feedback from participants on 10 factors indicating levels of agreement or disagreement on a four point Likert scale (from 4 = strongly agree to 1= strongly disagree). Teachers were also asked to indicate years of experience on the presurvey question, as this study also considered if factors such as teacher years of experience had any impact on teacher perspective of climate. School climate data and data from the averages of standardized PARCC test scores per school and subject area were analyzed using Bivariate Correlation tests, revealing no significant relationship between school climate and student achievement. Although survey data provided potential consideration for areas of improvement for the district in the study, recommendations by the researcher are for further study in a wider scope to increase generalizability.