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J Sch Health. 2014 Sep;84(9):593-604. doi: 10.1111/josh.12186.

Measuring school climate in high schools: a focus on safety, engagement, and the environment.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21295. cbradsha@jhsph.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

School climate has been linked to multiple student behavioral, academic, health, and social-emotional outcomes. The US Department of Education (USDOE) developed a 3-factor model of school climate comprised of safety, engagement, and environment. This article examines the factor structure and measurement invariance of the USDOE model.

METHODS:

Drawing upon 2 consecutive waves of data from over 25,000 high school students (46% minority), a series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses examined the fit of the Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools Climate Survey with the USDOE model.

RESULTS:

The results indicated adequate model fit with the theorized 3-factor model of school climate, which included 13 subdomains: safety (perceived safety, bullying and aggression, and drug use); engagement (connection to teachers, student connectedness, academic engagement, school connectedness, equity, and parent engagement); environment (rules and consequences, physical comfort, and support, disorder). We also found consistent measurement invariance with regard to student sex, grade level, and ethnicity. School-level interclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.04 to .10 for the scales.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings supported the USDOE 3-factor model of school climate and suggest measurement invariance and high internal consistency of the 3 scales and 13 subdomains. These results suggest the 56-item measure may be a potentially efficient, yet comprehensive measure of school climate.

KEYWORDS:

engagement; environment; measurement; safety; school climate; school improvement

PMID:
25117894
DOI:
10.1111/josh.12186
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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