Students' Preceptions of School Climate and Its Impact on Learning in Title I and Non-Title I Schools
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Education
The achievement gap that exists between students of differing socioeconomic backgrounds has been a topic of academic discourse among educational leaders for countless years. Policymakers and researchers have offered a myriad of suggestions to reform schools in an attempt to create better educational opportunities for our most vulnerable youth. However, many of our youth from low-income backgrounds are still academically lagging behind their counterparts (Howard, 2010; National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Cohen et al., (2009) suggested that the climate of schools may be a causal factor for the low student achievement in some schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore if there is a difference between the extent to which students from Title 1 and non-Title1 schools perceive their schools are conducive to learning. Eight school climate subscales, i.e., effective teaching, challenging and relevant curriculum, high expectations for all students, positive and nurturing environment, effective plant operations, safety and discipline, meaningful use of data, and parental involvement were analyzed. The school district serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities located in a mid-Atlantic state. The study revealed that overall, students at Title 1 elementary schools viewed their learning environments similarly to students attending non-Title 1 schools. However, there were significant differences found in two dimensions of school climate subscales: (1) High Expectations for All Students and (2) Parental Involvement. Both measures were significantly higher for non-Title 1 schools than for Title 1 schools. The results indicate that schools should use school climate research to improve policies and practices to create an optimal environment for all students.