261661 Further Validation of the School Climate Measure among a Large, Diverse Sample of Adolescents

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Keith Zullig, MSPH, PhD , Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Rani Collins, MPH, CHES , School Safety and Prevention, Arizona Department of Education, Phoenix, AZ
Nadia Ghani, MPH , Arizona Department of Education, Evaluation/Research Consultant, Phoenix, AZ
Jon Patton, PhD , Miami University, Oxford, OH
Jean Ajamie , School Safety and Prevention, Arizona Department of Education, Phoenix, AZ
Background: School climate defines a student's subjective physical, social, and emotional school experience known to impact academic achievement. The School Climate Measure (SCM) was developed and preliminarily validated in 2010 in response to a dearth of psychometrically sound school climate instruments.

Purpose: To further validate the SCM on a large, diverse sample of Arizona public school adolescents (N=21,082).

Significance: School climate can affect students' social environment, behavior, and learning and by addressing organizational processes and social environments, positive behavioral changes are possible. Methodology: Four SCM constructs (Positive Student-Teacher Relationships, Academic Support, Order and Discipline, and Physical Environment) were available for analysis along with a measure of School Connectedness from the Add Health Survey. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling established construct validity, and criterion-related validity was assessed via selected Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) school safety items. Results: Analyses confirmed the four SCM school climate factors explaining 59% of the variance (factor loading range .45-.93). Structural equation models also fit the data well χ2 = 14325 (df = 293, p<.001), CFI = .951, TLI =.952, RMSEA = .05). Overall, the goodness of fit index was .940. Coefficient alphas ranged from .82 to .93. MANOVA analysis with post hoc comparisons suggest SCM constructs related in hypothesized directions with the YRBS school safety items. Conclusions: Additional evidence supports the validity and reliability of the SCM. Measures, such as the SCM, can facilitate data-driven decisions in formative and summative evaluations to improve student outcomes and learning mandated by No Child Left Behind.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the importance of assessing school climate perceptions from students. 2) Explain the relationship between school climate and behavioral outcomes in adolescents.

Keywords: School Health, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. I have been the principal or co-principal investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on quality of life, substance use, and prevention and have authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed, data-based journal articles. I serve on the review broads of 10 national or international professional journals and serve on a team of associate editors for the Journal of Health Education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.