Middle schoolers’ math and reading performance rose and fell with their belief that their school had a welcoming climate, says.
Researchers looked at 7th graders’ reports of school climate—including feelings of safety and connection, caring relationships with adults, meaningful student participation, and low rates of bullying, drug use, delinquency, and discrimination at school—at 1,000 California middle schools, from 2004-05 through 2010-11. Researchers compared school climate data to students’ test performance in reading and math during that time.
There wasn’t a strong relationship between students’ academic performance and differences in climate among various schools in the same year. Schools with high overall school climate, however, had higher average reading and math scores, and student performance was strongly related to changes in the social climate within the same school from year to year.
A version of this article appeared in the February 08, 2017 edition of Education Week as School Climate