The Relationship Between School Culture and Student Achievement In a Large Urban School District

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Wanda Maulding

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


The major focus of the American reform and restructuring movement of public education is improved student learning. The primary goal has been to increase student achievement. Although the debate continues as to what constitutes an effective school, most models list an effective school culture as key. This study examines the relationship between student achievement, as measured by the Alabama Reading and Math Test, and school culture, as measured by the School Culture Survey, and principal's years in the building while controlling for the socioeconomic level. The SCS provides insight toward the collaborative nature of school cultures in regards to the following factors: Collaborative Leadership, Teacher Collaboration, Professional Development, Unity of Purpose, Collegial Support, and Learning Partnership (Gruenert, 1998). The ARMT measures student proficiency of the content standards in the Alabama Course of Study in reading and mathematics. The ARMT scores are used for AYP. The analysis for this study was based on the school culture characteristics that relate to student achievement on the ARMT in reading and mathematics. The six factors of the SCS were used as independent variables, and the student achievement scores of the ARMT in reading and mathematics were used as dependent variables. Multiple linear regressions using SPSS were used to analyze the data and test the hypotheses. The results of the regression analysis suggests that SES, with a negative linear relationship, accounts for a significant amount of reading and math proficiency variability, indicating that students with lower SES status are less likely to do well in reading and math. However, some variance in reading and math proficiency can be attributed to the six SCS factors and years in the building.