A Multilevel Study of Predictors of Student Perceptions of School Climate: The Effect of Classroom-Level Factors

Christine W. Koth, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A positive school climate is an important component of successful and effective schools and thus is often an aim of schoolwide initiatives. Climate has traditionally been conceptualized as a school-level factor and is often assumed to be related to other school-level factors (e.g., school size). The current study examines variation in perceptions of climate based on individual-, classroom-, and school-level factors to determine the influence of predictors at multiple levels. Data come from 2,468 5th graders from 37 public elementary schools. Two aspects of students' perception of school climate, order and discipline, and achievement motivation are examined. Multilevel analyses in hierarchical linear modeling indicate that individual-level factors (race and sex) accounted for the largest proportion of variance in perceptions of school climate. School-level factors (e.g., school size and faculty turnover) and several classroom-level factors (e.g., characteristics of the teacher, class size, and the concentration of students with behavior problems) were also significant predictors of perceptions of climate. These findings suggest that characteristics of the classroom environment are important to consider when aiming to improve school climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume100
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

Keywords

  • behavioral problems
  • classroom environment
  • multilevel analysis
  • school climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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