The Impact of School Climate on Student Achievement California Secondary Schools: Quantitative Analysis of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

Although well-established by research and often overlooked, states are increasingly encouraging schools to implement positive school climate in an attempt to increase academic achievement and eventually close the achievement gap (National School Climate, 2013). Placing school climate at the forefront of any school reform may help schools effectively identify problematic areas, develop appropriate intervention programs, and ensure students are in a learning environment conducive to academic success. Positive climate has been associated with improving school connectedness, engagement, attendance, classroom behavior, academic performance, and reducing substance abuse and violence (Hanson, Austin, & Lee-Bayna, 2003). Voight et al.’s (2013) study applied the successful schools framework (CITE) and found School Climate Index (SCI) scores from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) determined whether California public secondary schools were beating-the-odds (BT0) or Chronically Underperforming (CU) based on their school demographic characteristics and predicted Academic Performance Index (API). Yet, little is known about the impact of school climate on the academic outcomes of students using the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Thus, the purpose of this partial replication study was to determine whether the schools from the previous Voight et al. (2013) study maintained their BTO status using the new CAASPP Smarter-Balanced Assessments. In addition, the study explored whether the School Climate Index (SCI) scores of successful schools were different from other schools. Through a series of multiple regression models, 74 schools were identified as BTO schools and nine of the WestEd (2013) original BTO schools maintained their status. ANOVA and ANCOVA results showed highly significant differences among BTO, REG, and CU schools, based on their SCI scores, after controlling for the school’s characteristics . Limitations, implications and directions for further research are discussed.