Shay M. Daily

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Public Health


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Committee Chair

Keith J Zullig

Committee Co-Chair

Alfgeir L Kristjansson

Committee Member

Michael J Mann


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides a means for states to streamline current assessment systems and integrate multidimensional measures. The use of comprehensive measures (i.e. school climate) is important in understanding non-academic factors that influence the quality of a school. There are limited studies which describe how contextual factors influence the learning and behavior of students within demographically homogenous populations, especially from rural settings. Rural populations are characterized to have higher prevalence of multiple social, behavioral, and contextual characteristics that negatively affect their perception of school when compared to their urban counterparts.;The purpose of this study was to examine differences in mother's education and self-reported academic achievement as it relates to race through paired comparisons of School Climate Measure (SCM) means from a sample of Appalachian youth in West Virginia. A total of 1,275 students enrolled in grades 9 - 12 were surveyed using a cross-sectional purposive cluster sample from two high schools.;A factorial ANCOVA with a significance level of .01 was performed to examine main and interaction effects between the independent (mother's education and grades) and dependent variable (instrument mean), while controlling for race.;Findings suggest mother's education and self-reported academic scores in mathematics play a role in influencing how students perceive the climate of the school. Calculated effect sizes within-groups ranged from medium to small, which suggests that school climate mattersfn and is related to maternal education and academic outcomes.;Given the similar differences between the within-groups analysis, further studies with similar methods may point to important implications for the delivery of instruction and school-based interventions that promote positive learning and school quality.