The Impact of an Economically Disadvantaged Student Population on School Climate
Null, Curtis 1974-
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between student poverty levels, defined by the number of students identified as economically disadvantaged by qualifying for free and reduced lunch and school climate. The literature review examined school climate and culture, effects of student socioeconomic (SES) status on education, teacher attrition and turnover, and the role of the principal. Schools with large populations of economically disadvantaged students often experience low standardized test scores, poor parental involvement, and dramatically increased teacher turnover rates. This quantitative study examined the results of the 2010 administration of the Organizational Health Inventory (OHI) within a large, Texas, suburban school district in relation to the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the sample schools. The district’s campuses (N=51) were stratified into four groups based on the number of students classified as economically disadvantaged. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), Tukey’s post hoc analysis, and multivariate linear regression were performed to determine if relationships existed between school climate, as measured by the OHI and the level of economically disadvantaged students within the sample population of schools. Organizational health data were reported for overall campus climate, as well as each of the 10 dimensions of organizational health, in an effort to identify possible relationships between school climate and the number of economically disadvantaged students in the sample schools. The results of the study indicated that campus climate was significantly affected by students’ SES status. The results of the MANOVA analysis indicated that all 10 components of organizational health, as well as the composite score, were found to be significant. Post hoc analysis indicated that campuses with greater than 70% of students identified as economically disadvantaged were most likely to experience a negatively affected school climate. The results of the linear regression showed that a negative directional relationship existed between all dimensions of school health and the four groups of students identified as economically disadvantaged.