The relationship between perceptions of school climate and student achievement in schools that use Jostens' Renaissance Programs

Amy Yarborough Coyne

Abstract

Each school has unique attributes and a personality that gives the school a distinct climate. Psychological qualities that schools possess might include trust, collaboration, cooperation, teaching attributes, expectations, community involvement, and engagement (Rhodes, Camic, Milburn, & Lowe, 2009). Given information regarding school climate, relationship needs, and motivation, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of teachers involved in change and improvement processes and to determine whether academic change was related to the use of programs such as Jostens' Renaissance. The participants of this study consisted of 242 faculty and staff from five public schools from three separate school districts in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Region. The schools included three middle schools and two high schools. These participants completed a researcher-made questionnaire used to assess perception of school climate. Three building level administrators participated in a nine question interview to add qualitative data to the study that assessed common themes. Student achievement data for this study were measured through the Quality Distribution Index (QDI). QDI is unique to Mississippi, and the majority of the QDI score for a school comes from the school's Mississippi Curriculum Test 2 (MCT2) and Subject Area Testing Program (SATP) test scores. QDI was gathered over a three-year academic period from 2008-2009, 2009- 2010, and 2010-2011 for the five schools included in the study for three academic years. Correlations were conducted to test the relationship between school climate and achievement, school professionals' support of the Jostens' Renaissance Program, and faculty perceptions of impact of Jostens' Renaissance Programs and school climate. Data analysis showed that there was significant correlation between school climate perception data and achievement over the three years of academic findings. After analysis of the descriptive statistics from the 242 respondents to The Perception Survey for Faculty and Staff, it was found that there was support for the Jostens' Renaissance Program based upon the mean scores and standard deviations provided from the findings. Findings report that there was no statistical significance found between the perception survey findings and school climate. It was found that school climate does, indeed, have a statistically significant impact on student achievement due to significant increase in QDI over the three academic years. During the qualitative interviews, the respondents overwhelming had positive remarks about the climate and Jostens' Renaissance being vital components of successful schools and successful academic achievement based upon their experiences with the programs. Responses from the interviewees indicated that faculty support Jostens' Renaissance programs, support a need for a positive climate in order to obtain success, and support that there was, indeed, a positive connection between climate, these programs and achievement in the schools in this study.