The Use of School Climate Data for
Researchers have noted the importance of a positive school climate for teachers, parents, and students. A favorable school climate provides the structure within which students, teachers, administrators, and parents function cooperatively and constructively (Byrk & Thum, 1989; Ma & MacMillan, 1999; Gottfredson, Gottfredson, Payne, & Gottfredson, 2005; Brown & Medway, 2007; Gareau, May, Mindrila, Ishikawa, DiStefano, Monrad, & Price, 2010 ).
South Carolina is one of a few states that require students, parents, and teachers at every public school to complete a school climate survey annually. The South Carolina Educational Policy Center has analyzed the state's climate survey data base for the last three years and has used factor analytic techniques to identify fourteen school climate factors for teachers, students, and parents.
This project, in collaboration with the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (SCEOC) and the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE), has several purposes: 1) to investigate dimensions of school climate; 2) to compare perceptions of school climate across elementary, middle, and high school grade levels; and 3) to examine the relationships between climate, school report card variables (such as the percentage of teachers with advanced degrees), and indicators of school performance, such as standardized test scores.
SCEPC's 2009-2010 school climate research includes analyzing the 2008 and 2009 state-wide school climate surveys and developing four-year school climate profiles for the lowest performing schools in South Carolina. To read more about our current methodology and analysis, click here.
2010 School Climate AERA Presentation
On May, 2, 2010, we presented our 2008-2009 school climate research at the 2010 American Educational Research Association's (AERA) annual meeting in Denver, CO. The aims of this study were to: 1) Confirm the factor structure of student, teacher, and parent responses to the school climate survey; 2) Identify clusters of elementary, middle, and high schools using the identified dimensions of school climate; 3) Investigate the relationship between school cluster membership and outcomes such as student test scores, growth in achievement, and attainment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) student progress goals; and
4) Investigate the relationships between identified factors, report card variables, and indicators of school performance (e.g., Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and standardized test scores) for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
For a summary of our previous school climate findings, download the presentation.
For other SCEPC school climate papers and presentations, click here.
South Carolina Reading First Initiative
This project, commissioned by the South Carolina State Department of Education, evaluates and monitors the implementation and impact of the Reading First Initiative. This Initiative is the centerpiece of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and is designed to provide scientifically based reading instruction to students in grades kindergarten through three in Title I schools across the state. A summary of the first three years of program results was presented at the 2008 American Educational Research Association's Annual Meeting in New York, New York on March 27, 2008.
The November, 2009 Volume I report presents the evaluation methods, findings, and recommendations for SCRF from the 2008-2009 school year. The 2008-2009 school year was the fifth year of implementation of the SCRF Initiative. The report is divided into sections by the types of data reported including implementation findings, achievement results, and participant group surveys.
For full appendices results for 2008-2009 (Volume II), click here.
To read other SCRF papers and presentations, click here.
Improving Performance through the Arts, Communications, and Technology
This evaluation conducted in collaboration with the University of South Carolina's Office of Program Evaluation for Richland School District Two assessed the effectiveness of the ImPACT program activities to determine if they produced meaningful changes in minority group isolation, teacher performance, and student achievement.
For surveys results included as part of ImPACT's 2007 Annual Performance Report, click here.
Workshop evaluation results were also reported.
A Descriptive Study of South Carolina’s
Gifted and Talented Programs
This project, commissioned by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, described the operation of gifted and talented programs in South Carolina’s 85 school districts. This included a review of gifted and talented programs in several states, as well as related program legislation, regulations, financial and operational data.
This study became a "catalyst" for program change among program stakeholders and legislative staff. The study's findings related to the disparity in funding levels across districts, the large differences in the percentages of children served by district, and the need for more institutions of higher education to offer the gifted endorsement for teachers. These findings led to legislative changes benefiting the gifted and talented programs of SC.
To read about other SCEPC projects, click here.