Semester

Summer

Date of Graduation

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Type

EdD

College

College of Education and Human Services

Department

Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul A. Leary.

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine if a significant relationship exists between teacher-perceived school climate and state accreditation of elementary schools in West Virginia. Teacher-perceived school climate was measured by the CFK School Climate Profile.;The sample consisted of 100 schools. Included were 53 randomly-selected elementary schools which earned full accreditation and 47 elementary schools which lacked full accreditation in 1998 due to results on the Stanford Achievement Test. The response rate was 65%. Statistical analysis of data occurred through t-tests and stepwise multiple regression with an alpha level of .05 applied.;Findings. The percentage of students eligible to receive free or reduced lunch ranged from 11% to 99% in respondent schools and was significantly greater in schools which lacked full accreditation (79%) compared to schools which earned full accreditation (54%). Student enrollment in respondent schools ranged from 68 to 950 students and was significantly greater (358) in schools which earned full accreditation compared to schools which lacked full accreditation (215).;Mean climate scores were significantly higher in schools which earned full accreditation than in schools which lacked full accreditation. In lower SES schools, high morale was identified as a predictor of school accreditation. In smaller schools, cohesiveness and SES were predictors of school accreditation. In larger schools, only SES was a predictor of school accreditation.;Conclusions. (1) High morale is related to student achievement. Therefore, high morale is related to state accreditation of elementary schools in West Virginia. Two possible phenomena exist to explain this finding. (a) High morale my be lower in schools which lack full accreditation due to the lack of accreditation. (b) Lower morale may lead to a school's lack of full accreditation. (2) Cohesiveness was found to be lower in small schools which lacked full accreditation. A sense of cohesiveness may cultivate working together toward common goals. Working together may lead to higher student achievement and possibly full accreditation. (3) Findings indicate SES is related to student achievement measured by standardized tests. It is likely that in low SES schools, the greatest number of students win score below the 50th percentile in a normal distribution, and as a result may lack full accreditation status. (4) In higher SES schools students may be members of families in which parents earn better wages and perhaps have more education. Parents with more education may understand the educational process better and may place more emphasis upon education. Students from higher SES backgrounds may have broader life experiences which may enable them to relate better to items on standardized achievement tests.

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