STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL CLIMATE: DISAGGREGATED BY GENDER, GRADE LEVEL, AND SUBJECT AREA
Clark, Windy 1981-
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Students spend an average of 10,000 hours in classrooms by the time they reach middle school; they represent a valuable source of school climate data. Students’ perceptions of the school and classroom climate give an insider’s reflection of the actual climate that an outside observer would not capture. Rather than analyzing school and classroom climate as an aggregated totality, the purpose of this study was to disaggregate the data to examine the effects of gender, grade level, and subject area on climate perceptions at an intermediate school. The study addressed the following questions: (a) Do students’ perceptions of school and classroom climate significantly vary with gender? (b) Do students’ perceptions of school and classroom climate significantly vary with grade level? (c) Do students’ perceptions of school and classroom climate significantly vary with subject area (math, reading, and science)? Climate data from the student survey were disaggregated to evaluate the effects of multiple independent variables on multiple dependent variables using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), Tests of Between-Subjects Effects, and Tukey’s HSD. The data revealed that the three independent variables (gender, grade level, and subject area) have significant effects on the five dependent variables (climate themes: Prevention, Caring, Cooperation, Organization, and Community). The Tests of Between-Subjects Effects indicated statistically significant effects for gender within the Prevention Theme; grade level within the Caring Theme; and subject area within the Prevention, Caring, and Organization Themes. This study embarks on promising research that explores school and classroom climate disaggregated by gender, grade level (fifth-sixth grade), and subject area (math, reading, and science).