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Student Background, School Climate, School Disorder, and Student Achievement: An Empirical Study of New York City's Middle Schools

NCJ Number
Journal of School Violence Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: 2008 Pages: 3-20
Greg Chen; Lynne A. Weikart
Date Published
18 pages
Utilizing the confirmative, Structure Equation Modeling (SEM) technique, this study intends to develop and test a school disorder and student achievement model incorporating key student background, school structure, and culture variables based on school climate theory.
The study confirms the previous knowledge that student background, especially poverty and racial composition, affects student behavior and academic achievement. It is therefore imperative for policymakers and society to address the issue of poverty and disparity, which is worsening in many urban communities. The study supports the school disorder and student achievement model, wherein school disorder affects student academic achievement while taking into account the influence of the communities. The evidence of the study implies that school culture as reflected in school disorder and student attendance holds great potential for improving student learning. It is reasonable to suggest that schools should use proven effective policies and programs to combat school disorder and violence in the short run. In the large context and in the long run, reducing urban poverty will help close the gap between high and low achieving schools. The issue of school disorder and student academic achievement is of great concern to students, parents, educators, and policymakers, especially in large urban areas where poverty and minority concentrations coexist. This study develops and tests a school disorder and student achievement model based upon the school climate framework. The model was fitted to 212 New York City middle schools using the Structural Equations Modeling Analysis method. Figures, tables and references