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Classroom management, school staff relations, school climate, and academic achievement: testing a model with urban high schools

Abstract

Urban learning environments pose distinct instructional challenges for teachers and administrators, and can lead to lower achievement compared to suburban or rural schools. Today’s educational climate increasingly emphasises a need for positive academic outcomes, often measured by standardised tests, on which student educational opportunities, teacher benefits and school funding can be based. By applying an ecological framework to the urban school environment, it could be possible to better understand and ultimately improve the educational context at multiple levels. This study examined how classroom management, staff relations and school climate contribute to academic achievement, as measured by ACT scores. In a large urban American public school system, 208 teachers from 38 high schools were surveyed. A model was tested in which, when academic achievement was accounted for over time, classroom management and staff relations contributed positively to school climate, and climate in turn contributed to academic achievement. Structural equation modeling revealed that the data fitted the proposed model. Results illustrate the roles of school and classroom factors related to academic performance and underline the importance of classroom management strategies and positive learning environments. Results suggest avenues for interventions to increase academic achievement by supporting students through the lens of an ecological framework.

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Correspondence to Lindsey T. Back.

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Back, L.T., Polk, E., Keys, C.B. et al. Classroom management, school staff relations, school climate, and academic achievement: testing a model with urban high schools. Learning Environ Res 19, 397–410 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-016-9213-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-016-9213-x

Keywords

  • Academic achievement
  • Classroom management
  • Ecological approach
  • School climate
  • Staff relations