Research summaryResearch over the last 30 years has consistently shown that student results are better in schools where students are well known to their teachers.
Climate is a term that refers to the atmosphere in a school. It is made up by members of subgroups, such as students, faculty, and staff, and by the school population as a whole. Climate affects the morale, productivity, and satisfaction of persons involved in the school.
School climate has been found to positively correlate with student achievement. Several variables have been identified in the literature as being particularly strongly correlated. These include:
The physical structure of schools may facilitate or impede change and impact student outcomes, particularly in ways they may contribute to the physical and mental isolation of teachers. Physical arrangements can also contribute to student feelings of isolation and alienation which can contribute to students dropping out of school.
Schools should have enough physical space to accommodate all their students safely and an adequate number of teachers and classrooms to ensure optimum class size. In addition, the school building should be clean, safe from hazards, and in good repair.
Excerpted from Schrag, J.A. (1999). Inputs and Processes in Education: A Background Paper. Project Forum: Alexandria, VA.
Pavan, B.N. & Reid, N.A. (1990). Building school cultures in achieving urban elementary schools: The leadership behaviors of principals. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA.
Identification of principals' instructional leadership behaviors and the time they spend involved in the process of school improvement is the purpose of this study. A second focus is on the way in which principals build school cultures. Principals indicated that their most frequent behaviors were related to academic concerns, followed by interactive behaviors, and then behaviors requiring intensive time commitment. Findings indicate that most principals have internalized the norm of high expectations for their students and teachers, and were least concerned with behaviors related to maintaining order.
Schrag, J.A. (1999). Inputs and processes in education: A background paper. Project Forum: Alexandria, VA.
This background paper is the result of a literature review conducted under Project FORUM that identifies research-based inputs and processes related to student outcomes. It is designed to identify independent variables that should be the focus of systems change in order to positively impact student outcomes.