Interaction among School Culture, Chronic Absenteeism and English Language Proficiency Progress in Middle Schools within a Suburban Division of Virginia

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Virginia Tech


This quantitative study explored the interplay among school culture, chronic absenteeism rates for English Learners (ELs), and overall English language proficiency (ELP) progress, as indicated by the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test, in suburban Virginia middle schools. Utilizing the Virginia Framework for Cultural Competency, which encompasses learning environment, pedagogy and practice, community engagement, and self-reflection, the research aimed to determine the relationships among these domains, school culture, and student outcomes. The overarching research question addressed the interaction between school culture, chronic absenteeism rates for ELs, and ELP progress. Supporting questions examined the connections between school culture and ELP progress, the four cultural competency domains and ELP progress, and school culture and chronic absenteeism rates for ELs. Data for school culture ratings were sourced from the Department of Criminal Justice Services' school climate survey. The information on chronic absenteeism rates for ELs and ELP progress came from the Virginia Department of Education School Quality Profile. Analyses employing single and multiple linear regressions were conducted on existing archival data to identify statistical significance and correlations. The study yielded seven significant findings, highlighted three implications for practice, and revealed one policy implication. The findings from this research could assist current and future school leaders in Virginia middle schools by pinpointing specific aspects of school culture that could potentially enhance chronic absenteeism rates and academic progress in ELs. Additionally, division leaders might use these insights to tailor professional development for middle school principals and other educational leaders, emphasizing the critical role of a positive school culture. Furthermore, this study could support broader research efforts asserting the impact of school culture on academic success among ELs, identifying vital cultural elements that influence student achievement irrespective of their absenteeism or academic progress rates.



school culture, school improvement, chronic absenteeism, English learners, English language proficiency progress