The Relationship Between School Climate and Academic Achievement of High Schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia

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Virginia Tech


Research suggested that academic achievement can be directly impacted by a positive school climate (Bulach Malone, and Castleman, 1995; Bulach, 1994; Freiberg, 1999; MacNeil, Prater, and Busch, 2009; Thapa, Cohen, Higgins-D'Alessandro, and Guffey, 2012; Zakrzewski, 2013; Kutsyuruba, Klinger, and Hussain, 2015). When schools focus on improving school climate, it is suggested that student academic achievement will increase (USDOE 2016). The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between school climate and academic achievement at the high school level.

This quantitative study used multiple regression analysis to identify the relationship between school climate and academic achievement of Virginia high schools (N=314). The data for this study was extracted from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) School Quality Profiles (SQP) website on school attendance, school size, Free and Reduced Meal Eligibility (FRME), pupil/teacher ratios, provisionally licensed teachers and school discipline. Academic achievement measures were also taken from the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) results for English/reading and mathematics found on the VDOE SQP website for Virginia high schools.

The results of this study identified school size, percentage of low SES, attendance, discipline and provisionally licensed teachers as the significant factors having the biggest impact on learning. In an era of continued accountability, educational leaders will have a process to examine the effect of school climate factors on their students' academic performance at the high school level.



School Climate, Academic Achievement, High School