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Using school climate as a rural public school performance measure : do student and teacher reports of a school climate align?

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Title:
Using school climate as a rural public school performance measure : do student and teacher reports of a school climate align?
Creator:
Weisberg, Alexandria
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of school psychology)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
School psychology
Committee Chair:
Crepeau-Hobson, Franci
Committee Members:
Harris, Bryn
Stein, Rachel

Notes

Abstract:
The Colorado Department of Education assesses public schools on a yearly basis to evaluate if they are meeting academic standards, to identify areas of need and help districts develop a plan to implement change. Prior practices of school assessment have relied heavily on standardized tests scores as the primary measure of a school’s overall success; a heavily debated practice as to whether or not test scores provide a complete picture of everything that occurs within a school. This is of particular concern when evaluating rural districts as these districts tend to receive much less state funding and have more difficulty recruiting qualified teachers. More recently, data related to a school’s climate has also been considered in order to offer a more well-rounded evaluation. In an effort to further examine the usefulness of utilizing school climate in the evaluation of rural schools, this study investigated the relationship between academic growth statistics and data from school climate surveys administered to students and teachers in three rural school districts in Colorado during the fall semester of 2018. Results indicate significant differences between student and teacher reports of their schools’ climate. Additionally, when survey results were compared to academic growth statistics. No significant relationships were found between student and teacher report of climate and a traditional academic performance measure. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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Copyright Alexandria Weisberg. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
USING SCHOOL CLIMATE AS A RURAL PUBLIC SCHOOL PERFORMANCE
MEASURE: DO STUDENT AND TEACHER REPORTS OF SCHOOL CLIMATE ALIGN?
by
ALEXANDRIA WEISBERG B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2007
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program
2019


ii
This thesis for the Doctor of School Psychology degree by Alexandria Weisberg has been approved for the School Psychology Program by
Franci Crepeau-Hobson, Chair Bryn Harris Rachel Stein
Date: May 18, 2019


Ill
Weisberg, Alexandria (Psy.D., School Psychology)
Using School Climate as a Rural Public School Performance measure: Do Student and Teacher Reports of School Climate Align?
Thesis directed by Associate Director Franci Crepeau-Hobson
ABSTRACT
The Colorado Department of Education assesses public schools on a yearly basis to evaluate if they are meeting academic standards, to identify areas of need and help districts develop a plan to implement change. Prior practices of school assessment have relied heavily on standardized tests scores as the primary measure of a school’s overall success; a heavily debated practice as to whether or not test scores provide a complete picture of everything that occurs within a school. This is of particular concern when evaluating rural districts as these districts tend to receive much less state funding and have more difficulty recruiting qualified teachers. More recently, data related to a school’s climate has also been considered in order to offer a more well-rounded evaluation. In an effort to further examine the usefulness of utilizing school climate in the evaluation of rural schools, this study investigated the relationship between academic growth statistics and data from school climate surveys administered to students and teachers in three rural school districts in Colorado during the fall semester of 2018. Results indicate significant differences between student and teacher reports of their schools’ climate. Additionally, when survey results were compared to academic growth statistics. No significant relationships were found between student and teacher report of climate and a traditional academic performance measure. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Franci Crepeau-Hobson


IV
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION...................................................1
History of No Child Left Behind..........................1
Student Centered Accountability Project..................2
Research Questions.......................................5
II. LITERATURE REVIEW..............................................6
Standardized Tests.......................................6
Learning Climate.........................................9
Learning Dispositions...................................11
Rural Schools...........................................13
Summary of Literature...................................15
III. METHODS.......................................................17
Participants............................................17
Measures................................................19
Procedure...............................................23
Analyses................................................26
IV. RESULTS.......................................................27
V. DISCUSSION....................................................31
Limitations.............................................33
Conclusion and Future Directions........................34
REFERENCES................................................................36
APPENDIX..................................................................43


V
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
1. Survey Participants by District...........................................18
2. District Demographics.....................................................19
3. Matched Constructs- Student and Teacher Surveys...........................24
4. Elementary School Survey Results..........................................28
5. Secondary School Survey Results...........................................29
6. Academic Growth Data......................................................30


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CHAPTERI INTRODUCTION
Each year, Colorado public school districts are responsible for conducting an evaluation of their students’ academic performance to identify areas of need and create an informed improvement plan for the following year (Dee & Jacob, 2011). The evaluation process relies heavily on standardized test scores from a statewide test as a measure of school performance, regardless of a district’s demographics (Colorado Department of Education [CDE], 2018a). Funding for districts throughout Colorado ranged from $7,232 to $16,247 per student for the 2017-2018 school year (Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). The wide variability in resources is due to educational funding relying on local property taxes, local cost of living, and percentage of “students at-risk,” along with additional factors specific to each district (Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). Approximately 77% of Colorado districts are located in rural areas where teacher shortages are disproportionately higher than in city-based schools; remote districts have difficulties attracting teachers to live in their communities and offer salaries equal to about half of what is offered in more populated areas (Colorado Succeeds, 2018). Due to the stark differences in districts’ funding and access to resources, is using one system to evaluate all districts a fair and meaningful practice?
In 2015, the controversial and standardized test-dependent No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; CDE, 2017a). The change provides an opportunity for states to independently propose an evaluation plan that better captures the unique needs of their school districts and mentions the option of expanding assessment beyond academics (CDE, 2018b). Colorado recognizes in their finalized plan, the Consolidated State Plan Under Every Student Succeeds Act, the need for assessing school


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climate as an additional measure for schools to determine their overall performance (CDE, 2017b). However, a timeline for implementation is not included in the plan, due to the necessary additional research on best practices for collecting climate data (CDE, 2017b).
Colorado is known for leading the charge to allow students to “opt-out” of standardized testing, with approximately 10% of students opting out in 2015 due to parent refusal (Gorski, 2015). Initially, Colorado students who opted-out of testing did not negatively affect a school’s performance rating, but this practice was in conflict with the U.S. Department of Education’s requirement that 95% of students take statewide tests (Garcia, 2017). In 2017, Colorado decided to continue to allow students to opt-out but began submitting scores to the U.S. Department of Education that accurately reflect the number of student participants, negatively impacting districts’ scores (Garcia, 2017). Since funding has been previously tied to performance ratings, districts are concerned that opting-out may have an impact on the federal money they receive (Garcia, 2017).
In an effort to explore an alternative way for schools to evaluate their performance and provide well-rounded and impactful information, a study using the Student-Centered Accountability Program (S-CAP) model was launched in 2017 with the help of researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver. The study focuses on rural school districts due to the disparity in funding these districts face (Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). The S-CAP model provides a detailed framework for districts to review their schools’ performance in a more meaningful way that is unique to each school’s needs. In addition to academics, the model aims to evaluate each district on the climate within the school buildings and students’ learning dispositions. By using measures that examine student engagement, mindset, accessibility to staff, inclusiveness of the school’s culture and other performance factors beyond test scores, the S-CAP model’s objective


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is to provide useful evaluation data that schools can use to inflict positive change (S-CAP, 2018). Six school districts in rural Colorado piloted the program during the 2017-2018 school year and the program’s goal is to include a total of 30 rural Colorado school districts from 2018 to 2020. This study uses data from the second year of the program (2018-2019 school year) and includes three school districts that completed their reviews in the fall of 2018.
The evaluation process for the three districts involved “review teams,” made up of superintendents and administrators from outside school districts, who visited participating schools and conducted their evaluations. The onsite review process is referred to as System Support Reviews (SSR) in the S-CAP model. Review teams spent two days conducting each SSR at each district by observing classrooms, reviewing data from teacher and student surveys, conducting focus groups and reviewing documents (e.g., sample curriculum and assessments) provided by the schools. At the end of their visits, review teams provided an executive summary and performance ratings for each participating district. The summary provides insight and ratings for the following seven areas: Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Learning, Vision and Leadership, Learning Climate, Finance, Infrastructure and Facilities, Family and Community (S-CAP, 2018).
Information collected during the review process offers a realistic picture of what learning looks like for each district and the impact it has on its stakeholders. The reviews also highlight specific areas in which districts are excelling and where districts should focus their resources to improve. To further explore the usefulness of assessing factors beyond test scores, the present study was conducted. This study analyzed data specific to only the Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions focus areas within the larger S-CAP project. During the SSRs conducted in 2018, Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions focus areas were evaluated as independent


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constructs and scores were provided to each district. An alignment between student and teacher reports of school climate was not evaluated nor was it established if reports of climate were related to academic growth.
A school’s climate directly affects student performance and provides a more comprehensive picture of what is actually occurring in a building than standardized test scores can show (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). MacNeil et al. (2009) describes school climate as the “heart and soul” or “essence” of a school and assessing climate relies on student and teacher perceptions of what is occurring in their building. Climate provides information that captures stakeholders’ feelings that have developed over the course of the school year or several years, as opposed to standardized testing, which captures student and teacher performance over the course of a few days. Unlike many of the other focus areas included in S-CAP like Finance or Infrastructure and Facilities, schools actually have the power to make direct and impactful changes to climate if a need is shown (Tableman & Herron, 2004).
In order to include all information considered to be part of a school’s climate, this study uses data from both the Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions S-CAP focus areas. The U.S. Department of Education’s School Climate Model includes engagement as one of the three categories that define a school’s climate; information collected under the category of Learning Dispositions contains data on student engagement (United States Department of Education, 2018a). S-CAP breaks up the framework of Learning Climate into the following categories: welcoming and positive environment, safe and accepting/inclusive environment, and empowering environment. Learning Dispositions includes data on students having a growth mindset, resiliency, and engagement in learning (S-CAP, 2018). As part of the larger S-CAP study, data were collected in various ways from a number of stakeholders. For the purposes of


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the present study, information only focusing on Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions as reported by students and teachers was used.
Research Questions
Using survey results from students and their teachers, the present study on school climate has two main research questions. First, do student perceptions of their school’s climate differ or align with their teachers’ perspectives? And second, is there a relationship between student and/or teacher perception of climate and academic growth as reported by Colorado Department of Education’s yearly performance rating?
The findings of this study have the potential to provide schools with information regarding the relationship between school climate and academic growth, as well as potential differences in opinions among their stakeholders. For schools that already collect data around their schools’ climate, findings may also help them determine if current methods schools use accurately reflect what occurs within their buildings.


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CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW
Standardized Testing
After the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed in 2001, standardized testing in math and reading became mandatory for all students from third grade through high school. The original intent of the Act was to provide a way for schools to evaluate their academic performance, identify areas of improvement, and work towards “proficiency” for all students (Klein, 2015). The NCLB model unintentionally created a heavy dependence on reading and math test scores, put less emphasis on other areas of academics (social studies, history, art, etc.), and began the trend of “teaching to test” (Klein, 2015; Dee & Jacob, 2011; Heckman & Kautz, 2012). In order for students to perform well on a standardized test, instruction must center on the specific set of skills needed to excel on a multiple choice test, rather than focusing on a well-rounded education that is tailored to students’ individual needs and interests (Abrams et al.,
2003; McCarthy, 2008).
To incentivize schools to perform well, school funding and teacher salaries have previously been tied to test scores (Dee & Jacob, 2011). These “incentives” can create a high-stakes testing environments which leads to additional pressure for students, teachers and administration (McCarthey, 2008). Despite the demographic makeup of a school district, the same testing rules apply to all (Abrams et al., 2003). A student who is able to attend school in an affluent district fully stocked with the latest academic resources is given the same test as a student in a rural community that may struggle to provide students with updated textbooks and basic supplies (Whaley, 2018). Studies have shown that teachers in lower performing districts spend more time teaching test materials and less time on subjects that may better prepare


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students for a real world, furthering the learning and opportunity divide for students based on access to resources (Abrams et al., 2003; Heckman & Kautz, 2012; McCarthey, 2008). A study conducted by Abrams et al. (2003) in which teachers were surveyed found that teaching a grade level that falls in a testing year is a much less desirable position and therefore, harder to fill with top tier teachers. Teachers who do teach a grade that takes a statewide test reported less overall job satisfaction due to the lack of autonomy in their lesson planning (Abrams et al., 2003; Crocco & Costigan, 2007).
Standardized tests also have a negative impact students’ self-esteem and contribute to an increase in student dropout rates (Abrahams et al., 2003; Durto & Selland, 2012; Valli & Buesse, 2007). Tests have a tendency to further define a student’s awareness of their “academic position” in the classroom (Durto & Selland, 2012). Students who feel academically inferior to their peers may struggle to find the motivation to work on improving their performance (Durto & Selland, 2012). These sentiments only tend to worsen with each testing cycle and further perpetuate a student’s negative sense of self as they start to think about life post high school (Durto & Selland, 2012). According to a study conducted by Durto and Selland (2012), only students who typically perform well make positive remarks about the standardized testing process.
Raising the stakes on student performance has also resulted in unethical test administration practices on the part of school districts and teachers (Abrams et al., 2003). A study conducted by Jacob and Levitt (2003) analyzed Chicago students’ tests scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to determine if classroom wide cheating existed within the state. They reviewed test answers for “unexpected test score fluctuations” and “unusual patterns of answers” and found that 4-5% of classrooms in Chicago cheated in some fashion on standardized tests


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(Jacob & Levitt, 2003). A legal investigation into the standardized testing practices of Atlanta Public Schools resulted in the conviction of 11 teachers on charges of racketeering and falsifying test scores (Strauss, 2015; Wong, 2016). Teachers reportedly cheated on tests with the hope that higher scores would boost their salary; however, students were greatly impacted as they were not accurately assessed and deficits were not correctly identified (Wong, 2016).
Due to the growing issues with NCLB, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in 2015; the act reauthorized the previous Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaced NCLB (CDE, 2017a). ESSA provides more local control and flexibility around a school’s assessment process and relies on states to create their own plan to ensure schools are adhering to standards, conducting assessments and making districts accountable for improvement (CDE, 2018b). In Colorado, the Consolidated State Plan Under Every Student Succeeds Act was finalized and approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2017 (CDE, 2017b).
The plan outlines the state’s new goals and methods of accountability and addresses previous issues related to how standardized test scores were reported, how results were used, and gaps in performance between “subgroups” of students (CDE, 2017b). Traditional methods of academic testing remain in place, but significant changes have been made. Colorado decided to replace the Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test it has used the past several years with the state’s self-developed assessment of math and English (Garcia, 2017). Changes to test practices also include the addition of some assessments in Spanish; however, Spanish is the only language for which alternative tests are available (CDE, 2017b). The plan also addresses the additional need for districts to assess their schools on climate, postsecondary/workforce readiness, and social emotional needs (CDE, 2017b).


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Diversifying assessments is labeled a “long-term” goal since additional research is needed before data collection can begin (CDE, 2017b).
Learning Climate
S-CAP uses the term “Learning Climate” instead of the more commonly referenced term “School Climate” to collect data around schools providing a “welcoming and positive, safe and accepting, and empowering environment that fully engages students in their learning and inspires them to work toward higher levels of achievement” (S-CAP, 2018b, p. 1). The definition used by the present study encompasses the three main domains of school climate as outlined U.S. Department of Education’s School Climate Model: Engagement, Safety, and Environment (United States Department of Education, 2018a). School climate is often also referred to as “school environment” or “school-level learning environment”, but all share similar definitions (Johnson & Stevens, 2005). For the sake of the literature review, the term “School Climate” is used; however, the original term “Learning Climate” (as chosen by S-CAP) is used when referencing the original S-CAP data used for this study.
School climate describes the values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and group norms of a school that have formed through stakeholders’ (students, teachers, administration, parents, community) experiences within their school’s community (Loukas & Robinson, 2004; Gase et al., 2017; Kane et al., 2016). A student’s feelings towards their school and confidence in their own abilities affect their behavior and academic performance (Loukas & Robinson, 2004). Student perceptions of climate also provide specific and direct information for administration regarding what is working and what is not working for their students’ learning (Koth et al.,
2008).


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Positive school climate fosters student motivation, leads to increased productivity and “well-behaved” students; as such, climate is therefore directly tied to increased student engagement and academic performance (Simons-Morton & Crump, 2003; Brand et al., 2003). A research synthesis conducted by Berkowitz et al. (2016) of 78 studies on school climate found that climate is closely correlated to academic performance. This research further shows that a positive climate can even aid in students overcoming academic barriers that can be created by a low socioeconomic school setting (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). Climate is also closely linked to students’ emotional health and self-perception (Pietarinen et al., 2014). Classrooms have the ability to foster an environment that allows for students to work through their problems in an open and constructive way or cause already emotionally dysregulated students further frustration (Loukas & Robinson, 2004).
It is important that all groups of students are represented when collecting data on climate as different groups of students may have disparate experiences within the same school building (Koth et al., 2008). A study conducted by Koth et al. (2008) found that minority student are more likely to have a less favorable view of their school’s climate. Research has further shown that minority students experience a greater number of negative teacher interactions and are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action than white students (Drakeford, 2004; Pena-Shaff et al., 2017). Koth et al. (2008) also discovered that male students report less achievement motivation than girls. The differences in girls’ and boys’ perceptions of academics are linked to the fact that boys tend to receive lower grades than girls, which in turn affects their level of engagement and drive to learn (Koth, et al., 2008; Voyer & Voyer, 2014).
Factors that tend to contribute to school-wide climate include the actual size of the
building, number of students, teacher turnover rates, and students’ socioeconomic status (Koth,


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et al., 2008). In addition to school-wide climate data, information related to specific classroom experiences must also be collected. Koth et al. (2008) discovered that students’ experiences in a classroom have a greater impact on their overall view of their school’s climate than school-level factors of climate. Competition in a classroom, friendship groups, and teacher/parent relationships are related to students’ perception of climate and are largely controlled by the classroom teacher (Urdan & Schoenfelder, 2006; Loukas & Robinson, 2004).
Learning Dispositions
Learning Disposition is the term S-CAP uses to describe a student’s growth mindset, which includes being “resilient and engaged in learning” (S-CAP, 2018b, p. 2). Student engagement describes the “quality of students’ interactions with peers, adults, learning activities and tasks” and is crucial to students’ learning (O’ Brian & CDE, 2014, p.8). It encompasses a student’s “sense of belonging, safety, and involvement in school” that results in achievement, student attendance and ultimately graduation (Colorado Revised Statutes 22-14-102(13), 2017). Engagement and motivation influence a student’s ability to perform on academic tasks and increase their ability to avoid “adolescent pitfalls” (Skinner et al., 2008). Engagement is observable in classrooms and can be assessed through surveying and interviewing teachers and students (O’Brian & CDE, 2014).
Schools need to understand what can be done on their end to increase engagement to compensate for the fact that all aspects of a student’s life influence engagement (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2004). Students who may not have academic and/or emotional support in their home environment may need additional encouragement to remain involved at school (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2004). When collecting data on student engagement, it is important to include information directly from


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teachers in additional to student data due to teachers’ significant role in a student’s willingness to engage. Teachers are often responsible for a student’s perception of being treated fairly in the classroom and students look to their teachers for emotional support (Pietarinen et al., 2014).
Student engagement is a complex concept and requires multiple sources of data collection to ensure a complete picture is provided. Engagement is composed of three separate domains: behavioral, emotional, and cognitive (Fredrick et al., 2004). Behavioral engagement describes a student’s habits that demonstrate interest in their success like completing homework, attending classes, and participating in classroom activities (O’Brian & CDE, 2014; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcombe, 2010). Emotional engagement examines a student’s feelings and attitudes towards their teachers and classmates and the enjoyment or lack of enjoyment that they get by being part of a student body (O’Brian & CDE, 2014; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcombe, 2010). Cognitive engagement describes a student’s interest in what they are learning and if they are able to create a link to real world and long terms applications (O’Brian & CDE, 2014; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcombe, 2010).
S-CAP uses Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth’s theories of a growth mindset and grit to guide data collection around student tendencies to persevere when given difficult tasks and the belief that their abilities are malleable (Dweck, 2017; Transforming Education, 2015; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). A “fixed mindset” is the term used to describe a student who believes they have a “fixed” level of intelligence and is unable to expand their learning (Dweck, 2017). A growth mindset, however, describes the belief that students can increase their level of intelligence through hard work (Dweck, 2017). Students are not in strict categories of being “smart” or “dumb” but have the ability to grow and develop if they are capable of putting in the necessary effort (Dweck, 2017). Dweck’s research has shown that students who have a positive


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attitude towards their learning and believe hard work leads to growth, do better academically than their peers with a more fixed mindset (Claro et al., 2016).
Duckworth’s ideas of perseverance are closely tied to Dweck’s work, since grit stems from having a growth mindset (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). Duckworth defines grit as a person’s “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). A student’s grit is linked to their ability to overcome adversity and increase achievement (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). In order to measure grit, a 12 question Grit Scale was developed that asks six questions under the two categories: Consistency of Interests and Perseverance of Effort (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). According to studies conducted with the Grit Scale, perseverance and passion can account for success beyond what is achieved through intelligence alone (Duckworth, et. al,
2007).
Rural Schools
This study focuses on rural schools due to the disparities they face compared to their urban counterparts. The Colorado Department of Education (2013) defines a rural school as the following:
A Colorado school district is determined to be rural based on the size of the district, the distances from the nearest large/urbanized area, and having a student enrollment of approximately 6,500 students or fewer. Small rural districts are those districts meetings the same criteria and having a student population of fewer than 1,000 students, (p. 1). Nationally, 28% of schools in the U.S. are considered to be in rural areas and constitute 19% of the total student population (U.S. Department of Education [USDE], 2018b). There are a total of 178 public school districts in the state of Colorado; 147 of the districts are considered rural districts and 108 of those rural districts are “small” according to CDE’s definition (CDE, 2018d;


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CDE, 2018e). Despite the majority of districts falling within the rural category, only 15.3% of the total student population of Colorado attend rural schools (CDE, 2018d).
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Education (2018b), students face a number of challenges that are exclusive to their rural setting. Rural schools often have difficulties accessing reliable internet, which can make online educational resources a frustrating process (USDE, 2018b). It is also common for rural schools to offer fewer Advanced Placement or advanced high school class options (USDE, 2018b). A school’s physical location in a rural community is also impactful as it may mean a long bus ride for students, an inability to have an internship/after-school job or participate in extracurricular activities (USDE, 2018b). Students from rural schools graduate from high school at the same rate as the national average but rural schools are 10% below the national average number of students who go on to earn a bachelor degree (USDE, 2018b). The USDE report also highlights how each rural school district is unique in its community and the strengths and challenges they face, making it difficult to make one plan to assist all districts (USDE, 2018b).
Districts that are in rural communities also disproportionally struggle with teacher recruitment compared to schools in more populated areas (Regional Educational Laboratory [REL] Central, 2008; USDE, 2018b; Colorado Succeeds, 2018). Not only are communities more isolated, they also tend to offer lower salaries and require teachers to teach multiple grades in one classroom (REL Central, 2008, Sheridan et. al, 2017; Monk, 2007). Class sizes tend to be smaller in rural communities and as noted, may include several different grade levels, which means teachers have to be comfortable with teaching multiple subjects and levels of curriculum (Sheridan et. al, 2017; Monk, 2007).


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The Office of Rural and Community Engagement (ORCE) was recently created to help bring more attention to the needs of rural districts in the U.S. (USDE, 2018b). Not only are the needs different but when assessing needs, the same practices used in urban school may not yield valid results in rural environments (Sheridan et. al, 2017). One rural schools’ demographics may not match their neighboring community, which further complicates a uniform method of data collection (Sheridan et. al, 2017). For example, rural schools tend to be more of a focal point for their community by hosting more events and serving as a town meeting space rather than just a school (i.e., town hall meetings; Shafft, 2014). If a school is more embedded into a town’s community, stakeholders’ report of climate may differ from a parent who only experiences their child’s school during morning drop-off. If the CDE moves to include climate as a measure of school success, it will have to determine if one instrument for all school districts is appropriate. Summary of Literature
Extensive research has been conducted comparing climate to academic performance as highlighted by a research synthesis which analyzed 78 studies on climate report and academic performance (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). Results indicate a strong link between climate and academic performance; however, little research has been done that includes multiple stakeholders’ view of climate (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). Scant research also exists that compares the views of stakeholders to determine how best to capture data on a school’s climate. Indeed, search results for “comparing student and teacher report of school climate” did not yield a single article published in a peer reviewed journal.
Deciding on one universal definition of climate also appears to be a challenge. The S-CAP model includes Dweck and Duckworth’s ideas on resilience and grit, which are newer concepts and not incorporated into all definitions of climate. S-CAP also decided to use the two


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terms Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions to fully encompass their definition of School Climate. The themes that did appear through most definitions, including the CDE and USDE are student engagement, safety, and environment (USDE, 2018a; CDE, 2019). With the plan to incorporate climate data into schools’ future performance rating, gaps in research between stakeholders’ views and a lack of a strong common definition will need to be addressed in order to move forward with Consolidated State Plan under Every Student Succeeds Act’s plan (CDE, 2017b).
Research related to how best to collect data on climate also needs to include a broad scope of schools. The professional literature shows the different challenges rural schools face and highlight the need to include all districts, including small rural districts in the decision making process on how best to measure climate. What works for schools in Denver, Colorado might not work for a small rural district with a total of 1,000 students who all attend school (K-12) in the same building. The present study is intended to supplement the existing research by examining the relationship between school climate and academic growth, as well as the association between teacher and student views of school climate in rural schools.


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CHAPTER III METHOD
The present study, using School Climate as a Public School Performance Measure, analyzed data obtained from surveys administered to students and teachers at each of the three rural districts who participated in the S-CAP study in the fall of 2018. After survey data were collected at the schools, results were turned over to the University of Colorado, Denver research team in a partially de-identified format to further analyze for the review teams that provided the evaluation for each district. The original data only contained school building names and grade level and gender of the participants. Each survey included questions pertaining to a number of the S-CAP focus areas; however, only questions centered on Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions were used. Codes were created for each of the three districts and data was categorized by elementary and secondary (middle and high school). Information was saved on a secure server with access limited to the University of Colorado, Denver research team. Publicly available demographic data for each participating district is also reported to provide a basic description of the school districts involved (Table 2).
Participants
Rural school districts in Colorado served as the target population as defined by the larger S-CAP study. School districts that were interested in participating in the pilot program went through an application process run by S-CAP and six schools were selected for the initial round of the program. The first three districts that completed their review during the second year of the program (2018-2019 school year) serve as the sample for the present study. All three districts were part of the original group of six participating districts and this year was their second year in


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the program. Surveys were provided to all students and teachers in each of the three districts. The number of participants for each school are reported below in Table 1.
Table 1 Survey Participants by District
District 1 Response Rate Number of Participants
Elementary Students 98% 142
Secondary Students 74% 412
District 1 Student TOTAL 80% 554
Elementary Teacher 63% 29
Secondary Teacher 49% 29
District 1 Teacher TOTAL 55% 58
District 2 Response Rate Number of Participants
Elementary Students 100% 47
Secondary Students 94% 95
District 2 Student TOTAL 96% 142
Elementary Teacher 87% 13
Secondary Teacher 94% 15
District 2 Teacher TOTAL 90% 28
District 3 Response Rate Number of Participants
Elementary Students 100% 150
Secondary Students 53% 270
District 3 Student TOTAL 64% 420
Elementary Teacher 94% 50
Secondary Teacher 65% 39
District 3 Teacher TOTAL 78% 89
Student population for each participating district is described below in Table 2 (Colorado Department of Education, 2018).


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Table 2 District Demographic Information 2017-2018 School Year
2017-2018 ENROLLMENT DISTRICT 1 DISTRIC T 2 DISTRICT 3
Total PK-12 Pupil Count 1,059 227 1,153
American Indian or Alaskan Native 3 0 20
Asian 9 0 1
Black or African American 8 0 3
Hispanic or Latino 127 60 785
White 889 164 331
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 1 0 1
Two or More Races 22 3 12
Percent Minority 16.1% 27.8% 71.3%
Percent Free and Reduced Lunch 35.4% 51.5% 65.1%
Percent of Students Receiving Special Education Services (CO Avg= 10.9%) 12.7% 13.2% 11.8%
Percent of Students in a Gifted and Talented Programs (CO Avg = 7.4%) 2.9% NA 3%
Student Graduation Rate (CO Avg = 79%) 87% 100% 78%
Measures
Student Dispositions and School Climate Survey.
At the request of the participating school districts, the survey was developed by the University of Colorado, Denver (UCD) research team, together with the S-CAP review teams. Extensive research was conducted on existing surveys that assess learning climate, learning dispositions, and the established definitions underlying the constructs assessed by those surveys. Information was organized in a Google Excel sheet that was shared with school districts; the matrix outlined all concepts included under learning climate and learning dispositions with links to the research that supports each concept. A meeting was then held with administration from all


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six school districts and the UCD research team to determine which definitions and research best supported the ideas of learning climate and learning dispositions of students.
The teams decided Learning Climate would be assessed by asking questions related to a school being welcoming and positive, safe and accepting/inclusive, and if the climate is considered empowering. The definition was guided by the U.S. Department of Education’s model of school climate (engagement, safety, and environment), along a climate survey published by the U.S. Department of Education (USD, 2018a). The UCD team utilized research published by Jefferson County Public Schools and the Competency Works organization, along with several research articles related school climate as reported in the literature review section of this paper (Jefferson County Public Schools, 2016; Casey & Sturgis, 2018).
For the category Welcoming and Positive, the group decide to formulate questions around positive adult relations (e.g., “Teachers at this school are easy to talk to;” “Students at this school can depend on teachers for help”). To gage a student’s sense of feeling accepted at their school, questions were developed regarding students sense of belongingness at their school and to determine if everyone has an equal chance at succeeding (e.g., “Everyone at this school is challenged to do their best;” “I feel like I belong to the school I go to now.”). And to gage students’ Sense of Empowerment, questions were asked around if students are rewarded for their efforts (e.g., “Trying hard counts a lot at this school;” “Everyone is challenged to do their very best.”).
A second category under the broader definition of school climate is student engagement and resilience, which was measured under the title of Learning Dispositions in the S-CAP study. The definition of engagement was largely framed by guidelines from the Colorado Department of Education, along with research by Jennifer Fredricks, Ming-Te Wang, and Rebecca Holcombe


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as further described in the literature review section (O’Brian & CDE, 2014; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcomb, 2010). Questions related to engagement ask students about being organized, setting learning goals, and their ability to stay focused (e.g., “I can take good notes during class instruction;” “I am confident that I will achieve goals for myself;” and “I can get myself to study when there are other interesting things to do.”). Carol Dweck’s growth mindset work (Dweck, 2017) and Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale (Duckworth, 2007) were also used as guides to formulate questions around if effort or grades are more valued by students. To get at resilience and if students’ possess a growth mindset, questions asked about their values (learning vs. grades) and their ability to push through difficult tasks (e.g., “When something is hard, it makes me want to work on it more, not less;” “If I practiced every day, I could develop just about any skill.”).
Two versions of the survey were developed: one for elementary students and one for secondary (middle and high school) students. Although the survey items are worded differently to be developmentally appropriate, both surveys measure the same constructs. The final surveys included 44 questions for the elementary level and 51 questions for secondary students. The elementary and secondary surveys use a five-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”. After the first round of administration of the surveys, a factor analysis was run by the UCD research team to determine which questions grouped together to form constructs that could be used to discuss themes in the survey results. Student surveys include the following constructs: Positive Teacher Relationships, Teachers Support Learning, Behavioral Engagement, Learning Goal Oriented, Performance Goal Oriented, Task Focus, Resilience, Growth Mindset, High Expectations, and School Belonging.


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Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado.
Data from the Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado (TLCC) survey was used to capture teachers’ feelings of job satisfaction, learning conditions and climate of their buildings (Colorado Department of Education, 2017c). The TLCC is a statewide survey the Colorado Department of Education administers to all Colorado teachers on a yearly basis (Colorado Department of Education, 2017c). Login information for the online survey is sent directly to school districts to distribute to their teachers. Surveys are administered on a yearly basis; teachers take the survey on their own time and responses are anonymous. Results from the 2018 statewide TLCC survey were provided to the UCD research team by school districts and are also available via the TLCC website (CDE, 2018e).
Constructs for the TLCC survey include: School Leadership- Team Climate, School Leadership- Evaluation, Teacher Leadership, Professional Development, Student Conduct, Time, Instructional Practices- Responsibility for Instruction, Instructional Practices-Differentiating/Adjusting Instruction, Community Support and Involvement, and Facilities and Resources (Seidel, 2018). A full list of the questions under each construct are reported in Appendix A. The TLCC survey also uses a five-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”.
Student academic growth ratings.
The present study utilized District Performance Framework results from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) as a measure of academic growth. These documents provide an accreditation rating for each district and individual schools. The rating is based on academic achievement, academic growth, and readiness of students entering postsecondary settings and/or workforce (CDE, 2018a). The present study only used the score for academic growth, which is


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reported as the median percentiles for student growth and are based on scores from the Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies Assessments (CMAS) for elementary and middle school students. A combination of CMAS scores and the Colorado Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (CO PSAT) scores are used at the high school level (CDE, 2018a). Academic growth scores were chosen as the performance measure for this study because growth provides a picture of student performance overtime (growth from year to year) versus just one point in time.
Procedure
The Student Dispositions and School Climate Survey was administered via computer using the Qualtrics platform. All students, 4th through 12th grade, in all schools in participating districts were asked to take the survey a few weeks prior to review teams conducting their site visits. Surveys were open via computer for about two weeks for each district to allow time for all students to complete the survey; all data used in the study were collected during October and November of 2018.
Only constructs pertaining to climate and learning dispositions were included from both the student and teacher surveys. In order to compare results, common constructs between both surveys were determined. By looking at the items under all student and teacher constructs, matches were made using the face validity of main idea on which each question was based. The matching process resulted in a total of six constructs that were used to measure school climate: Positive Relationships, Feeling Supported/Valued, Ownership of Teaching/Learning, Meeting Diverse Learning Needs, Organization/Behavioral Engagement, and School Belonging.
As noted above, the TLCC was administered by the CDE to all Colorado teachers via an electronic link. The data from the 2018 survey was used in the present study. A few of the ideas


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under each teacher and student construct are outlined in Table 3 under each of the six matched constructs.
Table 3 Matched Constructs- Student and Teacher Surveys
FINAL COMBINED CONSTRUCT ORIGINAL STUDENT/TEACHER CONSTRUCT
Positive Relationships: • Feel respected • Feel listened to • Trusted/honest relationships Student: Positive Teacher Relationships
Teacher: School Leadership- Team Climate
Feeling Supported/Valued: • Rewarded for hard work • Feel contributions are valued • Have an influence over school wide decisions • Feedback is honest/constructive Student: Teacher Support Learning Goals
Teacher: Teacher Leadership
Ownership of Teaching/Learning: • Able to push through distractions to complete tasks • Hold yourself accountable for accomplishments/lack of accomplishments • Feel learning targets/curriculum goals are achievable • Learning is relatable Student: Learning Goal Orientation
Teacher: Instructional Practices: Responsibility for Instruction
Meeting Diverse Learning Needs: • All students are treated equal/fairly, regardless of abilities • Focus is on learning, not grades • Freedom to try new instructional strategies • Constant improvement is made on methods of teaching Student: Doing School Performance
Teacher: Instructional Practices: Differentiating Instruction/Adjusting Instruction
Organizational/Behavioral Engagement: • Can independently stay organized • Self-monitor work • Allowed adequate time to prepare for instruction/class Student: Organization (Behavioral Engagement)
Teacher: Time
School Belonging: • Teacher/students recommend their school as a good place to work/leam • Feel a strong sense of belonging to their school Student: School Belonging
Teacher: Overall Reflection


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Results from the surveys were converted into a percentage of positive responses for each survey question on both student and teacher surveys. “Strongly Agree” and “Agree” represent a positive response for most questions asked. In addition, there are a few items that were reversed scored meaning “Strongly Disagree” and “Disagree” indicate a positive response. Each positive response was assigned one point and total points for each question were added and then divided by the number of responses to provide a total average percentage of positive answers for each question asked on each survey. After the percent positive was determined for each question, questions were sorted by established constructs for each survey to provide an overall percent positive for each category for both student and teacher surveys.
In addition to studying the differences between student and teacher perceptions, this study aimed to determine if student and/or teacher report of school climate has a relationship with traditional academic measures. All districts provided their District Performance Framework results from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) as their source of performance data. These documents provide an accreditation rating for each district and individual schools. The rating is based on academic achievement, academic growth, and readiness of students entering postsecondary settings and/or workforce (CDE, 2018a). The present study only used the score for academic growth.
Following collection of student survey data within the Qualtrics platform, responses were then exported to an Excel spreadsheet. The total percentage of positive responses for each item was then calculated for the elementary and secondary versions of the survey. Responses were combined for each district to provide an average percent positive rating for each grade level.
Data were then combined a second time to provide an average percentage of positive results within each district at the elementary and secondary level.


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Similar procedures were followed for the teacher survey. TLCC data were provided in an Excel sheet and was reported by elementary and secondary levels. The percent positive of responses for each of the questions asked was calculated and all teacher responses within a district were combined to determine the average positive response for each construct at the elementary and secondary level. A positive rating for each of the six constructs, for both student and teachers, was used for each of the three districts to calculate comparisons.
Academic growth scores were either provided by the districts themselves or found on the Colorado Department of Education website. Academic growth scores are reported as the percentage of total possible points earned and were put into Excel for comparison with the survey data (CDE, 2018b).
Analyses
A quantitative approach was used to determine if differences exist between student and teacher survey responses.
A correlation was run with student and teacher survey results to answer Research Question 1: do student perceptions of their school’s climate differ or align with their teachers’ perspectives?
A second correlation was then run to answer Research Question 2: is there a relationship between student and/or teacher perception of climate and academic growth as reported by Colorado Department of Education’s yearly performance rating.


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CHAPTER IV RESULTS
Elementary school students from all three districts reported an overall average climate rating of 73% positive responses, while secondary students were lower at an average of 58% overall positive responses (Table 4, Table 5). The difference between these percentages is statistically significant fY2=21.597, df=l, p<=.0001). These results indicate that on average, elementary school students showed a more favorable view of their schools’ climate when compared to secondary students. Elementary and secondary teachers’ overall average climate ratings were similar; elementary teachers reported 85% positive responses and secondary teachers reported 86%. Results indicate that teachers’ view of their schools’ climate tend to stay about the same, regardless of grade.
Correlational analyses were employed to examine the relationships among student and teacher surveys. Assumptions were checked and met. At the elementary level, no statistically significant relationships were observed between student and teacher perceptions of school climate. In other words, elementary students had very different perceptions of their school climate than their teachers. The relationship between perceptions of school climate of secondary school students and teachers was also non-significant, indicating disparate student-teacher views at the secondary level as well.
Both elementary and secondary school student surveys resulted in an overall climate rating that is lower than their respective teacher ratings for each of the three districts (Tables 4 and 5). Chi-squared tests were conducted to determine if these differences are significant. Without exception, statistically significant differences were obtained in each district: District 1 Elementary: (A2=40.142, df=l, p<=.0001); District 1 Secondary: (X2=8.446, df=l, p<=.0037);


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District 2 Elementary: (Z2=86.182, df=l, p<=.0129); District 2 Secondary [X2=0, df=l, p<=1.0); District 3 Elementary: [X2=9.091, df=l, p<=.0026); District 3 Secondary: (X2=9.444, df=l, p<=.0021). Results indicate significantly more teachers reported positive attitudes towards climate than students in each district.
TABLE 4 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RESULTS- PERCENTAGE OF POSITIVE RESPONSES
District Respondent CATEGORIES Overall Climate Rating
Positive Relationships Feel Supported/ Valued Ownership Over Learning/ Teaching Meeting Diverse Learning Needs Organization /Behavioral Engagement School Belonging
1 Student (n=142) 78% 81% 68% 80% 69% 62% 73%
1 Teacher (n=29) 83% 75% 89% 87% 58% 96% 81%
2 Student (n=47) 80% 88% 57% 80% 78% 61% 74%
2 Teacher (n=13) 97% 100% 93% 83% 67% 100% 90%
3 Student (n=150) 89% 87% 57% 71% 72% 64% 73%
3 Teacher (n=50) 97% 85% 89% 80% 50% 96% 83%


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TABLE 5 SECONDARY SCHOOL RESULTS- PERCENTAGE OF POSITIVE RESPONSES
District a Positive Relationships Feel Supported/ Valued Ownership Over Learning/ Teaching Meeting Diverse Learning Needs Organization /Behavioral Engagement School Belonging
1 Student (n=412) 67% 69% 70% 53% 59% 57% 63%
1 Teacher (n=29) 90% 92% 92% 94% 48% 96% 85%
2 Student (n=95) 61% 58% 70% 51% 60% 45% 58%
2 Teacher (n=15) 100% 94% 90% 91% 67% 100% 90%
3 Student (n=270) 59% 57% 68% 40% 57% 49% 55%
3 Teacher (n=39) 88% 78% 88% 84% 54% 96% 81%
Correlational analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between student climate reports and academic growth scores. These results are presented in Table 6. None of the results were statistically significant, suggesting that for both elementary and secondary students, their perceptions of the school climate are not associated with academic growth scores. The relationship between elementary school teachers’ perceptions of the school climate and their schools’ academic growth scores was also examined via correlational analyses. No significant results were obtained. Likewise, the correlation between perceptions of school climate of secondary school teachers and their schools’ academic growth scores was non-significant.


TABLE 6 ACADEMIC GROWTH SCORES 2018
District School Level Growth- Percentage of Total Points Earned
1 Elementary 50%
1 Secondary 74.3%
2 Elementary 87.5%
2 Secondary 64.4%
3 Elementary 46%
3 Secondary 66.7%


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CHAPTER V DISCUSSION
Colorado public school districts are responsible for conducting an evaluation of their students’ academic performance to identify areas of need and create an informed improvement plan for the following year (Dee & Jacob, 2011). All districts in Colorado are evaluated in the same manner, regardless of their access or lack of access to certain resources. Colorado schools in rural areas traditionally face disproportional hardships compared to their more affluent counter parts. They tend to struggle more when it comes to attracting teachers, offering students a large variety of extracurricular activities and in many cases, receive significantly less funding (Regional Educational Laboratory Central, 2008; USDE, 2018b; Colorado Succeeds, 2018; Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). In an effort to save money, several districts throughout the state have even moved to a four day a week yet are still held to the same academic standards as a school maintaining a traditional schedule (Colorado Department of Education, 2018c).
In order to make assessment more equitable across Colorado, the state was provided more flexibility in their evaluation process through the Consolidated State Plan Under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESS A). The latest version of the ESS A plan states the importance of assessing school climate as an additional measure, yet acknowledges additional research is needed to effectively provide schools with meaningful information (CDE, 2018b).
To investigate how climate can be used as a performance measure, the present study was conducted. School climate data were collected from three rural schools in Colorado during the fall of 2018 via electronic surveys. Chi square analyses revealed significant differences between elementary and secondary students’ views of school climate, with significantly more elementary


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school students reporting a favorable view. This is consistent with previous research (e.g., Pashiardis, 2000).
Correlational analyses revealed no significant relationships between student and teacher views of school climate at the elementary and secondary levels. However, the differences between student and teacher reports were determined to be significant for every district at both the elementary and secondary levels. . Results also indicated no significant relationships between student and teacher school climate data and their corresponding academic growth scores as reported by the Colorado Department of Education.
Findings suggest that both elementary and secondary students have a less positive view of their environment than their teachers. Such differences indicate the importance of obtaining school climate data from multiple stakeholders (Silins & Mulford, 2004). This is key if the CDE is to move forward with their plan to expand yearly performance ratings. It may also be helpful for administration to understand that teachers’ perspectives may not accurately reflect their students’ sentiments. If schools are looking to improve school culture, engagement, and their students’ satisfaction with their learning experience, both students and teachers need to be included in the process.
The relationship between climate reports and academic growth scores was not a significant one for any of the groups. However, the correlation between elementary school students’ perceptions of school climate and academic growth scores approached significance (p=.06), indicating some relationship between student report of their school environment and academic performance. No such relationship was found for secondary students or for teachers at either level. These results contradict previous research that strongly suggests a link between climate and academic performance (e.g., Simons-Morton & Crump, 2003; Brand et al., 2003).


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These differences in results could be attributed to a number of factors that make this current study different from the existing body of research. For example, this study utilized academic growth scores as a measure of academic achievement. Previous research examining the relationship between climate and academic outcomes, relied primarily on academic achievement as their measure of performance (Berkowitz et. al., 2016). Additionally, there is no agreed upon definition of school climate and consequently, the assessment of climate also varied from study to study (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016). The present study approached the assessment of school climate in a way that aligns with some newer constructs, including Dweck’s growth mindset (Dweck, 2017) and Duckworth’s concept of grit (Duckworth, 2007). This may well have affected results.
Additionally, the majority of previous studies focused on climate reports from students; which are important, but do not address the need and value of including multiple viewpoints (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016; MacNeil et. al, 2009). Further, little research has focused on the rural context. The data used in this study included teacher perspectives and came only from rural districts that have their own distinct communities, challenges, and benefits that are unique to small schools (USDE, 2018b). Research indicates that smaller class sizes/smaller schools are closely correlated to an increase in student engagement, closer teacher relationships, and more parent involvement, which in turn leads to a better overall school climate (Christine et. al, 2008; Goldkind & Lawrence, 2013). Such influences could have impacted study findings.
Limitations and Future Directions
The findings of the present study must be considered within the context of several limitations. The first limitation relates to the school climate surveys. The student and teacher surveys did not ask the same questions and therefore could not be directly compared item by item. In order to dive deeper into the differences in opinions between students and teachers, it


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would be beneficial to develop a survey that could be dually administered to both groups so a more direct comparison could be made. Additionally, no other relevant stakeholders were surveyed, limiting the scope of the findings. Future research should include other perspectives such as those of parents and administration. Finally, the size and nature of the study sample are notable limitations. Only three schools in rural areas were included and consequently, results cannot be generalized to schools with larger class sizes, larger campuses, and urban and suburban contexts. If school climate is going to be included in all districts’ yearly performance evaluation, the method for data collection will need to capture information accurately for all schools within Colorado.
Conclusions
Findings from the present study indicate significant differences in perceptions of the school climate between elementary school and secondary school students, with a higher percentage of elementary school students rating the climate positively. Such differences are consistent with previous research (Pashiardis, 2000) and may be due in part to school size (Ma, 2001). Regardless, additional, targeted efforts should be made to improving school climate in secondary schools.
Results also suggest disparate student and teacher views of the school climate. In general, teachers rated the school climate more positively than did the students. This was true at both the elementary and secondary levels. Teachers may feel they are meeting all of the needs of their students but may be completely unaware of how their students actually feel. The differences found between student and teacher reports highlight the importance of collecting information on
climate from both student and teachers.


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Although not true for the present study, previous research has indicated a strong relationship between a positive school climate and academic performance (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016). Consequently, different perspectives need to be considered when developing and implementing strategies designed to foster a positive school climate which in turn can enhance student academic growth and performance.


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APPENDIX A
TLCC Construct TLCC Item Rotated Component iviatrix” Loading
School Leadership: "Team Climate" sub-construct 2-le 1 feel comfortable raising important issues with school leadership. 0.719
2-la This school is led by an effective team. 0.699
2-lb Our work together is guided by a shared vision that is student focused. 0.646
2-Id School staff show respect for each other. 0.547
2-lc School staff participate in the improvement planning process (e.g., Unified 0.530

School Leadership: "Evaluation" sub-construct 2-lh The teacher evaluation process provides me with actionable feedback for in 0.797
2-ie My effectiveness is accurately assessed through the school's teacherevalua 0.778
2-If 1 receive informal feedback that helps me to improve my instruction. 0.506

Teacher Leadership 3- la Teachers’ professional expertise is valued. 0.681
3-Id Teachers have an adequate level of influence on important school decision 0.626
3-lb There is a process in place for collaborative problem solving in this school. 0.621
3-lc 1 have had leadership opportunities in this school. 0.472

Professional Development 6-lc The effectiveness of professional development is assessed regularly. 0.652
6-If 1 receive adequate professional development to effectively use student dat 0.644
6-lb Professional learning opportunities are personalized and aligned to teacher 0.611
6-Id Professional learning (e.g., instructional coaching, PLCs, training) has a posh 0.595
6-If 1 receive adequate professional development to support my students' soda 0.557
6-le 1 receive ongoing support and coaching to improve my practice. 0.532
6-la The school improvement plan (e.g., Unified Improvement Plan) influences t 0.503
7-If New initiatives (e.g., curriculum, assessments, instructional approach) are gj 0.416
5-lc The school provides opportunities for me to learn from other teachers. 0.371

Student Conduct 4- la Students know how they are expected to act in the school. 0.709
4-id This school is a safe place for students to learn. 0.696
4-lb Students have the knowledge, skills and supports needed to focus on learn 0.626
4-lC Rules for student behavior are enforced in a consistent manner. 0.608
8-Id Our school is a safe place to work. 0.516

Time 7-la 1 have adequate time to prepare for instruction. 0.789
7-lc 1 have adequate time to analyze and respond to student assessment data. 0.757
7-le 1 have adequate time to communicate with my students' families. 0.726
7-Id 1 have adequate time to support my students' social and emotional learnin, 0.660
7-lb My time is protected from duties that take time away from teaching. 0.654



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TLCC Construct TLCC Item Rotated Component Matrix* Loading
Instructional Practices: "Responsibility for ins truction" sub-con struct 5- lb Staff in this school hold themselves accountable for the academic growth o 0.702
5-la Staff in this school consistently seek new and improved ways of providing ir 0.672
5-Id Students understand how class activities relate to learning objectives. 0.566
5-le Instruction in this school encourages different cultural viewpoints. 0.492

Instructional Practices: "Differentiating/ Adjusting Instruction" sub-construct 5-lh Students with disabilities are adequately supported in this school. 0.708
5-lk 1 have the autonomy to make important decisions for my classroom. 0.673
5-lg English Learners are adequately supported in this school. 0.663
5-11 1 feel supported in trying new instructional strategies. 0.659
5-lm 1 use formative assessment data to improve my students' learning. 0.634
5-li Gifted students are adequately supported in this school. 0.568
5-lj Students' social and emotional learning is adequately supported in this sch 0.500
5-If The diverse academic needs of our students are met by this school's curren 0.439

Community support & involvement 9- lb The school's efforts to engage families are effective. 0.706
9-lc The school provides strategies that families can use at home to support the 0.632
9- la The community is supportive of the school. 0.602
9-Id All families have access to information about what is happening in the schc 0.583

Facilities & resources: 8-la My class si2e(s) is reasonable. 0.753
8-lc 1 have adequate physical space to work productively. 0.736
8-lb Instructional resources are adequate to support student learning. 0.586
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization, a. Rotation converged in 8 iterations.
(Seidel, 2018)


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USING SCHOOL CLIMATE AS A RURAL PUBLIC SCHOOL PERFORMANCE MEASURE: DO STUDENT AND TEACHER REPORTS OF SCHOOL CLIMATE ALIGN? by ALEXANDRIA WEISBERG B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2007 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program 2019

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of School Psychology degree by Alexandria Weisberg has been approved for the School Psychology Program by Franci Crepeau Hobson, Chair Bryn Harris Rachel Stein Date: May 18, 2019

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iii Weisberg, Alexandria (Psy.D., School Psychology) Using School Climate as a Rural Public School Performance measure: Do Student and Teacher Reports of S chool Climate A lign? Thes is directed by Associate Director Franci Crepeau Hobson ABSTRACT The Colorado Department of Education assess es p ublic schools on a yearly basis to evaluate if they are meeting academic standards, to iden tify areas of need and help districts develop a plan to implement change. Prior practices of school assessment have r elied heavily on standard ized tests scores as the primary ; a heavily debated practice as to whether or not test scores provide a complete picture of everything that occurs within a school . This is of particular concern when evaluating rural districts as these districts tend to receive much less state funding and have more difficulty recruiting qualified teachers. More recently, data related to s climate has also been considered in order to offer a more well rounded evaluation . In an effort to further examine the usefulness of utiliz ing school climate in the evaluation of rural schools , this study investigated the relationship between academic growth statistics and data from school climate survey s administered to students and teachers in three rural school districts in Colorado during the fall semester of 2018 . Results indicate significant differences Additionally, when survey results were compared to academic growth statistics . No significant relationships were found between student and teacher report of climate and a traditional academic performance measure. Implications for practice and policy are discussed. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Franci Crepeau Hobson

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. ..... . ....... 1 ... . . .. ... ... ..1 .2 ... . ....... 5 II. LITERATUR Standar ... Learning Di Rur Summary ........15 III. 17 Partici Proc ... 23 IV. RES ULTS V. DISCUS 31 Limita 33 Conclusion and Futu re 34 REFERENCE APPENDIX ....43

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v LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1. .18 2. District . 19 3. Matched Constructs Student and Teacher .. . 24 4. . 28 5. 6. Academic Growth . 30

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Each year, Colorado public school districts are responsible for conducting an evaluation improvement plan for the following year (Dee & Jacob, 2011). The evaluation process relies heavily on standardized test scores from a statewide test as a measure of school performance, ion [CDE] , 2018a). Funding for districts throughout Colorado ranged from $7,232 to $16,247 per student for the 2017 2018 school year (Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). The wide variability in resources is due to educational funding relying on local prop erty taxes, local cost of living, and percentage of Staff, 2018). Approximately 77% of Colorado districts are located in rural areas where teacher shortages are disproportionately higher than in city based schools; remote districts have difficulties attracting teachers to live in their communities and offer salaries equal to about half of what is offered in more populated areas (Colorado Succeeds, 2018). Due to the stark districts a fair and meaningful practice? In 2015, the controversial and standardized test dependent No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was replaced wi th the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; CDE, 2017a). The change provides an opportunity for states to independently propose an evaluation plan that better captures the unique needs of their school districts and mentions the option of expanding assessment beyond academics (CDE, 2018b). Colorado recognizes in their finalized plan, the Consolidated State Plan Under Every Student Succeeds Act , the need for assessing school

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2 climate as an additional measure for schools to determine their overall performance (C DE, 2017b). However, a timeline for implementation is not included in the plan, due to the necessary additional research on best p ractices for collecting climate data (CDE, 2017b). of standardized testing, with approximately 10% of students opting out in 2015 due to parent refusal (Gorski, 2015). Initially, Colorado students who opted performance rating, but this practice was in co requirement that 95% of students take statewide tests (Garcia, 2017). In 2017, Colorado decided to continue to allow students to opt out but began submitting scores to the U.S. Department of Education that ac curately reflect the number of student participants , negatively impacting c ia, 2017). Since funding has been previously tied to performance ratings, districts are concerned that opting out may have an impact on the federal money they receive (Garcia, 2017). In an effort to explore an alternative way for schools to evaluate their performance and provide well rounded and impactful information, a study using the Student Centered Accountability Program (S CAP) model was launched in 2017 wi th the help of researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver. The study focuses on rural school districts due to the disparity in funding these districts face (Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018). The S CAP model provides a detailed framework for s. By using measures that examine student engagement, mindset, accessibility to staff, inclusiveness of the CAP model s objective

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3 is to provide useful evaluation data that schools ca n use to inflict positive change (S CAP, 2018). Six school districts in rural Colorado piloted the program during the 2017 2018 school year and to include a total of 30 rural Colorado school districts from 2018 to 2020. This study u ses data from the second year of the program (2018 2019 school year ) and includes three school districts that completed their reviews in the fall of 2018 . The evaluation process for the three districts i , superintendents and administrators from outside school districts , who visited participating schools and conducted their evaluations. The onsite review process is referred to as System Support Reviews (SSR) in the S CAP model. Review teams spent two days conducting each SSR at each district by observing classrooms, reviewing data from teacher and student surveys, conducting focus groups and reviewing documents (e.g., sample curriculum and assessments) provided by the schools. At the end of their visits, review teams prov ided an executive summary and performance ratings for each participating district. The summary provides insight and ratings for the following seven areas: Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Learning, Vision and Leadership, Learning Climate , Finance, Infrastructure and Facilities, Family and Community (S CAP, 2018). Information collected during the review process offers a realistic picture of what learning looks like for each district and the impact it has on its stakeholders. The reviews also highl ight specific areas in w hich districts are excelling and where districts should focus their resources to improve. To further explore the usefulness of assessing factors beyond test scores, the present study was conducted. This study analyzed data specific to only the Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions focus areas within the larger S CAP project. During the SSRs conducted in 2018, Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions focus areas were evaluated as independent

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4 constructs and scores were provided to each district. An alignment between student and teacher reports of school climate was not evaluated nor was it established if reports of climate were related to academic growth . rectly affects student performance and provides a more comprehensive picture of what is actually occur ring in a building than standardized test scores and sou perceptions of what is occurring in their building. Climate provides information that captures several years , as opposed to standardized testing, which captures student and teacher performance over the course of a few days. Unlike many of the other focus areas included in S CAP like Finance or Infrastructure and Facilities, schools actually have t he power to make direct and impactful changes to climate if a need is sh own (Tableman & Herron, 2004). uses data from both the Learning Climate and Learning D ispos itions S CAP focus areas . The ; information collected under the category of L earning Dispositions c ontains data on student engagement (United States Department of Education, 2018 a ). S CAP breaks up the framework of Learning Climate into the following categories: welcoming and positive environment, safe and accepting/inclusive environment, and empowering environment . Learnin g Dispositions includes data on students having a growth mindset, resiliency , and engagement in learning (S CAP, 2018). As part of the larger S CAP study, data w ere collected in various ways from a number of stakeholders. For the purposes of

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5 th e present study, information only focusing on Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions as reported by students and teache rs w as used. Research Questions Using survey results from students and their teachers , th e present study on s chool c limate has two main rese arch questions is there a relationship between student and/or teacher perception of climate and academic growth as reported by Colorado Department The findings of this study have the potential to provide schools with information regarding the relationship between school climate and academic growth, as well as potential differences in opinions among their stakeholders . For schools that already collect data around accurately reflect what occurs within their buildings.

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6 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Standardized Testing After the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed in 2001, standardized testing in math and reading became mandatory for all students from third grade through high school. The original intent of the A ct was to provide a way for schools to evaluate their academic (Klein, 2015). The NCLB model unintentionally created a heavy dependence on reading and math test sc ores, put less emphasis on other areas of academics (social studies, history, art, etc.), 2012). In order for students to perform well on a standardized test, inst ruction must center on the specific set of skills needed to excel on a multiple choice test, rather than focusing on a well rounded 2003; McCarthy, 2008). To incentivize schools to perform well, school funding and teacher salaries have previously been tied to test scores (Dee & Jacob, 2011). stakes testing environments which leads to additional pressure for students, tea chers and administration (McCarthey, 2008). Despite the demographic makeup of a school district, the same testing rules apply to all (Abrams et al., 2003). A student who is able to attend school in an affluent district fully stocked with the latest acade mic resources is given the same test as a student in a rural community that may struggle to provide students with updated textbooks and basic supplies (Whaley, 2018). Studies have shown that teachers in lower performing districts spend more time teaching test materials and less time on subjects that may better prepare

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7 students for a real world, furthering the learning and opportunity divide for students based on access to resources (Abrams et al., 2003; Heckman & Kautz, 2012; McCarthey, 2008). A study con ducted by Abrams et al. (2003) in which teachers were surveyed found that teaching a grade level that falls in a testing year is a much less desirable position and therefore, harder to fill with top tier teachers. Teachers who do teach a grade that takes a statewide test reported less overall job satisfaction due to the lack of autonomy in their lesson planning (Abrams et al., 2003; Crocco & Costigan, 2007). esteem and contribute to an increase in student dropout rates (Abrahams et al., 2003; Durto & Selland, 201 2; Valli & Buesse, 2007). T cally inferior to their peers may struggle to find the motivation to work on improving their performance (Durto & Selland, 2012). These sentiments only tend to worsen with each testing cycle and further y start to think about life post high school (Durto & Selland, 2012). According to a study conducted by Durto and Selland (2012), only students who typ ically perform well make positive remarks about the standardized testing process. Raising the stakes on student performance has also resulted in unethical test administration practices on the part of school districts and teachers (Abrams et al., 2003). A Test of Basic Skills to determine if classroom wide cheating existed within the state. They and found that 4 5% of classrooms in Chicago cheated in some fashion on st andardized tests

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8 (Jacob & Levitt, 2003). A legal investigation into the standardized testing practices of Atlanta Public Schools resulted in the conviction of 11 teachers on charges of racketeering and falsifying test scores (Strauss, 2015; Wong, 2016). Te achers reportedly cheated on tests with the hope that higher scores would boost their salary; however, student s were greatly impacted as they were not accurately assessed and deficits were not correctly identified (Wong, 2016). Due to the growing issue s with NCLB, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in 2015; the act reauthorized the previous Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaced NCLB (CDE, 2017a). ESSA provides more local control and flexibility around a schoo ensure schools are adhering to standards, conducting assessments and making districts accountable for improvement (CDE, 2018b). In Colorado, the Consolidated State Plan Under Every St udent Succeeds Act was finalized and approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2017 (CDE, 2017b). previous issues related to how standardized test scores were repor ted, how results were used, and academic testing remain in place , but significant changes have been made. Colorado decided to replace the Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test it developed assessment of math and English (Garcia, 2017). Changes to test practices also include the addition of some assessments in Spanish; howeve r, Spanish is the only language for which al t ernative tests are available (CDE, 2017b). The plan also addresses the additional need for districts to assess their schools on climate, postsecondary/workforce readiness, and social emotional needs (CDE, 2017b ).

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9 data collection can begin (CDE, 2017b). Learning Climate S accepting, and empowering environment that fully engages students in their lea rning and inspires (S CAP, 2018 b, p. 1 ). The definition used by the present study encompasses the three main domains of school climate as outlined U.S. ment, Safety, and Environment (United States Department of Education, 2018 a ). School climate is often also referred to as (Johnson & Stevens, 2005). For the sa CAP) is used when referencing the original S CAP data used for this study. School climate describes the values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and group norms of a al., 2017; Kane own abilities affect their behavior and academic performance (Loukas & Robinson, 2004). Student perceptions of climate also provide specific and direct information for admin istration regarding 2008).

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10 Positive school climate fosters student motivation, leads to increased productivity and as such, climate is therefore d irectly tied to increased student engagement and academic performance (Simons Morton & Crump, 2003; Brand et al., 2003) . A research synthesis conducted by Berkowitz et al. (2016) o f 78 studies on school climate found that climate is closely correlated to academic per formance. This r esearch further show s that a positive climate can even aid in students overcoming academic barriers that can be created by a low socioeconomic school set ting (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). Climate is also closely linked to perception (Pietarinen et al., 2014). Classrooms have the ability to foster an environment that allows for students to work through their problems in an open and constructive way or cause already emotionally dysregulated students further frustration (Loukas & Robinson, 2004). It is important that all groups of students are represented when collecting data on climate as different groups of students may h ave disparate experiences within the same school building (Koth et al., 2008). A study conducted by Koth et al. (2008) found that minority student are Rese a r ch has further shown that min ority students experience a greater number of negative teacher interactions and are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action than white students (Drakeford, 2004; Pena Shaff et al., 2017). Koth et al. (2008) also discovered that male students repo rt less achievement motivation boys tend to receive lower grades than girls, which in turn affects their level of engagement and drive to learn (Koth, et a l., 2008; Voyer & Voyer, 2014). Factors that tend to contribute to school wide climate include the actual size of the

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11 et al., 2008). In addition to school wid e climate data, information related to specific classroom level f actors of cl imate. Competition in a classroom, friendship groups, and teacher/parent relationships are related to rolled by the classroom teacher (Urdan & Schoenfelder, 2006; Loukas & Robinson, 2004). L earning Dispositions Learning D isposition is the term S which includes (S CAP, 2018 b, p. 2 ). Student with peers, adults, learning activities CDE , 2 014 , p.8 ). It encompasses a student attendance and ult imately graduation (Colorado Revised Statutes 22 14 102(13), 2017). obser vable in classrooms and can be assessed through surveying and interviewing teachers and students ( CDE, 2014). Schools need to understand what can be done on their end to increase engagement to compensate for the fact that all aspects of a stude Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2004). Students who may not have academic and/or emotional support in their home environment may need additional encouragement to remain involved at school (National Rese arch Council and Institute of Medicine, 2004). When collecting data on student engagement, it is important to include information directly from

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12 teachers in additio nal to student data due to teachers engage. classroom and students look to their teachers for emotional support (Pietarinen et al., 2014). Student engagement is a complex concept and requires multiple sources o f data collection to ensure a complete picture is provided. Engagement is composed of three separate domains: behavioral, emotional, and cognitive (Fredrick et al., 2004). Behavioral engagement describes a student habits that demonstrate interest in th eir success like completing homework, atte nding classes, and participating in classroom activities ( & CDE, 2014 ; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcomb e towards their teachers and classmates and the enjoyment or lack of enjoyment that they get by being part of a student body ( & CDE , 2014 ; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcomb e , they are able to create a link to real world and long terms applications ( & CDE , 2014 ; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcomb e , 2010). S CAP u of a growth mindset and grit to guide data collection arou nd student tendencies to persevere when given difficult tasks and the belief that their abilities are malleable (Dweck, 2017; Transforming Education, 2015 ; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009 y growth mindset, however, describes the belief that students can increase their level of intelligence through hard work (Dweck, 2017). Students are not in stric t categories of being

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13 attitude towards their learning and believ e hard work leads to growth, do better academically than their peers with a more fixed mindset (Claro et al., 2016) . from having a growth mindset (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009) . Duckworth defines grit as a grit is linked to their ability to overcome adversity and increase achievement (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). In order to measure grit, a 12 question Grit Scale was developed that asks six questions under the two categories: Consistency of Interests and Perseverance of Effort (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). According to studies conducted with the Grit Scale, persevera nce and passion can account for success beyond what is achieved through intelligence alone (Duckworth, et. al, 2007). Rural Schools This study focuses on rural schools due to the disparities they face compared to the ir urban counterparts. The Colorado Department of Education (2013) defines a rural school as the following: A Colorado school district is determined to be rural based on the size of the district, the distances from the nearest large/urbanized area, and having a student enroll ment of approximately 6,500 students or fewer. Small rural districts are those districts meetings the same criteria and having a student population of f ewer than 1,000 students. (p. 1 ). Nationally, 28% of schools in the U.S. are considered to be in rural areas and constitute 19% of the total student population (U.S . Department of Education [USDE] , 2018 b ). There are a total of 178 public school dis tricts in the state of Colorado; 147 of the districts are considered rural districts and 108 of those rural di (CDE, 2018d ;

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14 CDE, 2018e ). Despite the majority of districts falling within the rural category, only 15.3% of the total student population of Colorado attend rural schools (CDE, 2018d). According to a rep ort published by the U.S. Department of Education (2018b) , students face a number of challenges that are exclusive to their rural setting. Rural schools often have difficulties accessing reliable in ternet, which can make online educational resources a frustrating process (USDE, 2018 b ). It is also co mmon for rural schools to offer fewer Advanced Placement or advanced high school class options (USDE, 2018 b ). A location in a rural community is also impact ful as it may mean a long bus ride for students, an inability to have an internship/after school job or participate in extracurricular activities (USDE, 2018b ) . S tudents from rural schools graduate from high school at the same rate as the national averag e but rural schools are 10% below the national average number of students who go on to earn a bachelor degree (USDE , 2018 b ). The USDE report also highlights how each rural school district is unique in its community and the strengths and challenges they fa ce, making it difficult to make one plan to assist all districts (USDE, 2018 b ). Districts that are in rural communities also disproportionally struggle with teacher recruitment compared to schools in more populated areas (Regional Educational L aboratory [R EL] Central, 2008; USDE, 2018 b ; Colorado Succeeds, 2018 ). Not only are communities more isolated, they also tend to offer lower salaries and require teachers to teach multiple grades in one classroom (REL Central, 2008, Sheridan et. al, 2017 ; Monk, 2007 ). Class sizes tend to be smaller in rural communities and as noted, may include several different grade levels , which means teachers have to be comfortable with teaching multiple subjects and levels of curriculum (Sheridan et. al, 2017 ; Monk, 2007 ).

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15 The Office of Rural and Community Engagement (ORCE) was recently created to help bring more attention to the needs of rural districts in the U.S. (USDE, 2018 b ). Not only are the needs different but when assess ing needs, the same practices used in urban schoo l may not yield valid results in rural environments (Sheridan et. al, 2017). demographics may not match their neighboring community, which further complicates a uniform method of data collection (S h eridan et. al, 2017). For example, r ur al schools tend to b e more of a focal point for their community by hosting more events and serving as a town meeting space rather than just a school ( i.e., town hall meetings ; community, stakeholde rs report of climate may differ from a parent who only experiences their off. If the CDE moves to include climate as a measure of school success, it will have to determine if one instrument for all school districts is a ppropriate. Summary of Literature Extensive research has been conducted comparing climate to academic performance as highlighted by a research synthesis which analyzed 78 studies on climate report and academic performance (Berkowitz, et. al, 2016). Results indicate a strong link between climate and academic performance ; however , little research has been done that in cludes multiple Scant research also exists that compar es the views of stakeholder s Indeed, did not yield a single article published in a peer reviewed journal. Deciding on one universal definition of climate also appears to be a challenge. The S t, which are newer concepts and not incorporated into all definitions of climate. S CAP also decided to use the two

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16 terms Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions to fully encompass their definition of School Climate. The themes that did appear through most definitions, including the CDE and USDE are student engagement, safety , and environment ( USDE, 2018a; CDE, 2019). With the plan to gaps in research between stakeholders and a l ack of a strong common definition will need to be addressed in order to move forward with Consolidated State Plan u 2017b). Research related to how best to collect data on climate also needs to include a broad scope of schools. The professional l iterature shows the different challenges rural schools face and highlight the need to include all district s , including small rural districts in the deci sion making process on how best to measure climate. What works for schools in Denver, Colorado might not work for a small rural district with a total of 1,000 students who all attend school (K 12) in the same building. The present study is intended to sup plement the existing research by examining the relationship between school climate and academic growth, as well as the association between teacher and student views of school climate in rural schools.

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17 CHAPTER III METHOD The present study, u sing School Climate as a Public School Performance Measure, analyze d data obtained from sur veys administered to students and teacher s at each of the three rural districts who participated in the S CAP study in the fall of 2018. After survey data w ere coll ected at the schools, results were turned over to th e University of Colorado, Denver research team in a partially de identified format to further analyze for the review teams that provided the evaluation for each district. T he original data only contained schoo l building names and grade level and gender of the participants . Each survey included questions pertaining to a number of the S CAP focus areas; however, only questions centered on Learning C limate and Learning Dispositions were used. Codes were cr eated for each of th e three districts and data wa s categorized by elementary and secondary (middle and high school) . Information was saved on a secure server with access limited to the University of Colorado, Denver research team. Publicly a vailable d emographic data for each participating district is also reported to provide a basic description of the school districts involved (Table 2 ) . Participants Rural school districts in Colorado served as the target population as defined by the larger S CAP study . School districts that were interested in participating in the pilot program went through an application process run by S CAP and six schools were selected for the initial round of the program . T he first three districts that completed their review during the second year of the program (2018 2019 school year) serve as the s ample for the present study . A ll three districts were part of the original group of six participating districts and this year was their second year in

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18 the program. Surveys were provided to all students and teachers in each of the three d istricts. The number of participants for each school are reported below in Table 1 . Table 1 Survey Participants by District District 1 Response Rate Number of Participants Elementary Students 98% 142 Secondary Students 74% 412 District 1 Student TOT A L 80% 554 Elementary Teacher 63% 29 Secondary Teacher 49% 29 District 1 Teacher TOTAL 55% 58 District 2 Response Rate Number of Participants Elementary Students 100% 47 Secondary Students 94% 95 D istrict 2 Student TOT A L 96% 142 Elementary Teacher 87% 13 Secondary Teacher 94% 15 District 2 Teacher TOTAL 90% 28 District 3 Response Rate Number of Participants Elementary Students 100% 150 Secondary Students 53% 270 D istrict 3 Student TOT A L 64% 420 Elementary Teacher 94% 50 Secondary Teacher 65% 39 District 3 Teacher TOTAL 78% 89 S tudent population for each participating district is described below in Table 2 (Colorado Department of Education, 2018).

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19 Table 2 District Demographic Information 2017 2018 School Year Measures Student Dispositions and School Climate Survey . At the request of the participating school districts, t he survey was developed by the University of Colorado , Denver (UCD) research team, togethe r with the S CAP review teams . Extensive research was conducted on existing surveys that assess learning climate , learning dispositions , and the established definitions underlying the constructs assessed by those surveys. Infor mation was organized in a Google Excel sheet that was shared with school districts; the matrix outlined all concepts included under learning climate and learning dispositions with links to the research that supports each concept. A meeting was then hel d with administration from all 2017 2018 ENROLLMENT DISTRICT 1 DISTRIC T 2 DISTRICT 3 Total PK 12 Pupil Count 1,059 227 1,153 American Indian or Alaskan Native 3 0 20 Asian 9 0 1 Black or African American 8 0 3 Hispanic or Latino 127 60 785 White 889 164 331 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 1 0 1 Two or More Races 22 3 12 Percent Minority 16.1% 27.8% 71.3% Percent Free and Reduced Lunch 35.4% 51.5% 65.1% Percent of Students Receiving Special Education Services (CO Avg= 10.9%) 12.7% 13.2% 11.8% Percent of Students in a Gifted and Talented Programs (CO Avg = 7.4%) 2.9% NA 3% Student Graduation Rate (CO Avg = 79%) 87% 100% 78%

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20 six school districts and the UCD research team to determine which definitions and research best supported the ideas of learning climate and learning dispositions of students. The teams decided Learning Climate would be assessed by asking questions related to a school being welcoming and positive, safe and accepting/inclusive, and if the climate is considered empowering. The definition wa model of school climate ( engagement, safety, and environment), along a clima te survey published by the U.S. Department of Education (USD, 2018a). The UCD team utilized research published by Jef ferson County Public Schools and the CompetencyWorks organization , along with several research articles related school climate as reported in the literature review section of this paper (Jefferson County Public Schools, 2016; Casey & Sturgis, 2018). For the category W elcoming and P ositive, the group decide to formulate questions around po sitive adult relations ( e.g. ). their school, questions were developed regarding students sense of belong ingness at their school and to determine if everyone has an equal chance at succeeding ( is challenged to do their best; ). And to gage S ense of E mpowerment, questions were asked around if students are reward ed for their efforts ( ). A second category under the broader definition of school climate is student engagement and resilience , which was measured under the t itle of Learning Dispositions in the S CAP study. The definition of engagement was largely framed by guidelines from the Colorado Department of Education, along with research by Jennifer Fredricks, Ming Te Wang , and Rebecca Holcombe

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21 as further described i n the literature review section ( & CDE , 2014 ; Fredrick et al., 2004; Wang & Holcomb, 2010). Questions related to engagement ask students about being organized, setting learning goals , and t heir ability to stay focused ( e. during class ). growth mindset work (Dweck, 2017 ) ( Duckwort h, 2007) were also used as guides to formulate questions around if effort or grades are more valued by students. To get at resilience about their values (learning vs. grades) and their ability to push through difficult tasks ( ). Two versions of the sur vey were developed : one for elementary student s and one for secondary (middle and high school) students. Although the survey items are worded differently to be developmentally appropriate, both surveys measure the same constructs. The final surveys include d 44 questions for the elementary level and 51 questions for secondary students. The elementary and secondary surveys use a five ys, a factor analysis was run by the UCD research team to determine which questions group ed together to form constructs that could be used to discuss themes in the survey results. Student surveys include the following constructs: Positive Teacher Relation ships, Teachers Support Learning, Behavioral Engagement, Learning Goal Oriented, Performance Goal Oriented, Task Focus, Resilience, Growth Mindset, High Expectations, and School Belonging.

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22 Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado . Data from the Teaching and Learning Co nditions Colorado (TLCC) survey was used to feelings of job satisfaction, learning conditions and climate of their buildings (Colorado Department of Education, 2017c). The TLCC is a statewide survey the Colorado Departmen t of Education administers to all Co lorado teachers on a yearly basis (Colorado D epartment of Education, 2017c). L ogin information for the online survey is sent directly to school districts to distribute to their teachers. Surveys are administer ed on a ye arly basis ; teachers take the survey on their own time and responses are anonymous . Results from the 2018 statewide TLCC survey w ere provided to the UCD research team by school districts and are also available via the TLCC website (CDE, 2018e). Construc ts for the TLCC survey include: School Leadership Team Climate, School Leadership Evaluation, Teacher Leadership, Professional Development, Student Conduct, Time, Instructional Practices Responsibility for Instruction, Instructional Practices Different iating/Adjusting Instruction, Community Support and Involvement, and Facilities and Resources (Sei del, 2018) . A full list of the questions under each construct are reported in Appendix A. The TLCC survey also uses a five point L Student academic growth ratings. The present study utilized District Performance Framework results from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) as a measure of academic growth. These documents provide an accreditation rating for each district and individual schools. The rating is based on academic achievement, academic growth, and readiness of students entering postsecondary settings and/or workforce (CDE, 2018a). The present st udy only used the score for a cademic growth, which is

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23 reported as the median percentiles for student growth and are based on scores from the Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies Assessments (CMAS) for elementary and middle school students . A c ombination of CMAS scores and the Colorado Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (CO PSAT) scores are used at the high school level (CDE, 2018a). Academic growth scores were chosen as the performance measure for this study because growth pr ovides a picture of student performance overtime (growth from year to year) versus just one point in time. Procedure The Student Dispositions and School Climate Survey was administered via computer using the Qualtrics platform. All students, 4th through 12th grade, in all school s in participating districts were asked to take the survey a few weeks prior to review teams conducting their site visits. Surveys were open via computer for about two weeks for each district to allow time for all stu dents to complete the survey; all data used in the study w ere collected during October and November of 2018. Only constructs pertaining to climate and learning dispositions were included from both the student and teacher surveys. In order to compare resu lts, common constructs betwee n both surveys were determined. By looking at the items under all student and teacher constructs, matches were made using the face validity of main idea on which each question was based. The matching process resulted in a tot al of six constructs that were used to measure school climate: Positive Relationships, Feeling Supported/Valued, Ownership of Teaching/Learning, Meeting Diverse Learning Needs, Organization/Behavioral Engagement, and School Belonging. As noted above, the TLCC was administered by the CDE to all Colorado teachers via an electronic link. The data from the 2018 survey was used in the present study. A few of the ideas

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24 under each teacher and student construct are outlined in Table 3 under each of the six matche d constructs. Table 3 Matched Constructs Student and Teacher Surveys FINAL COMBINED CONSTRUCT ORIGINAL STUDENT/TEACHER CONSTRUCT Positive Relationships : Feel respected Feel listened to Trusted/honest relationships Student: Positive Teacher Relationships Teacher: School Leadership Team Climate Feeling Supported/Valued : Rewarded for hard work Feel contributions are valued Have an influence over school wide decisions Feedback is honest/constructive Student: Teacher Support Learning Goals Teacher: Teacher Leadership Ownership of Teaching/Learning : Able to push through distractions to complete tasks Hold yourself accountable for accomplishments/lack of accomplishments Feel learning targets/curriculum goals are achievable Learning is relatable Student: Learning Goal Orientation Teacher: Instructional Practices: Responsibility for Instruction Meeting Diverse Learning Needs : All students are treated equal/fairly, regardless of abilities Focus is on learning, not grades Freedom to try new instructional strategies Constant improvement is made on metho ds of teaching Student: Doing School Performance Teacher: Instructional Practices: Differentiating Instruction/Adjusting Instruction Organizational/Behavioral Engagement : Can independently stay organized Self monitor work A llowed adequate time to prepare for instruction/class Student: Organization (Behavioral Engagement) Teacher: Time School Belonging : Teacher/students recommend their school as a good place to work/learn Feel a strong sense of belonging to their school Student: School Belonging Teacher: Overall Reflection

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25 Results from the surveys were converted into a percentage of positive responses for each survey question on both student and teacher positive response for most questions asked. In addition, there are a fe w items that were reversed indicate a positive response. Each positive response was assigned one point and total points for each question were added and then divided by the number of responses to provide a total average percentage of positive answers for each question asked on each survey. After the percent positive was determined for each question, questions were sorted by established constructs for each su rvey to provide an overall percent positive for e ach category for both student and teacher surveys. I n addition to studying the differences between stu dent and teacher perceptions , this study aim ed to determine if student and/ or teacher report of school climate has a relationship with traditional academi c measures. A ll districts provided their District Performance Framework results from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) as the ir source of performance data . These documents provide an accreditation rating for each district and individual schools. The rating is based on academic achievement, academic growth, and readiness of students entering postsecondary settings and/or workforce (CDE, 2018a). Th e present study only use d the score for a cademic growth . Following collection of student survey data within the Qualtrics platform, responses were then exported to an Excel spreadsheet. The total percentage of positive responses for each item was then calculated for the elementary and secondary versions of the survey. Responses were combined for each di strict to provide an average percent positive rating for each grade level. Data were then combined a second time to provide an average percentage of positive results within each district at the elementary and secondary level.

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26 Similar procedures were fol lowed for the teacher survey. TLCC data w ere provided in an Excel sheet and was reported by elementary and secondary levels. T he percent positive of responses for each of the questions asked was calculated and all teacher responses within a district were combined to determine the average positive response for each construct at the elementary and secondary level. A positive rating for each of the six constructs, for both student and teachers, was used for each of the three districts to calculate comparisons . Academic growth scores were either provided by the districts themselves or found on the Colorado Dep artment of Education website. Academic growth scores are reported as the percentage of total possible points earned and were put into Excel for compariso n with the survey data (CDE, 2018b). Analyse s A quantitative approach was used to determine if differences exist between student and teacher survey responses. A correlation was run with student and teacher survey results to answer Research Question 1: perspectives? A second c orrelation w as then run to answer Research Question 2: is there a relationship between student and/or teacher perception of climate and academi c growth as reported by Colorado Department of Educat

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27 CHAPTER IV RESULTS Elementary school students from all three districts reported an overall average climate rating of 73% positive responses, while secondary students were lower at an average of 58% ove rall positive responses (Table 4, Table 5 ). The difference between these percentages is statistically significant ( X 2 =21.597, df=1, p <=.0001). These r esul ts i ndicat e that on average, when compared to secondary students ratings were similar; elementary teachers report ed 85% positive responses and secondary about the same, regardless of grade. Correlational analyses were employed to examine the relationships among student and teacher surveys. Assumptions were checked and met. At the elementary level, no statistically significant relationships were observed between student and teacher perception s of school climate. In other words, elementary students had very different perceptions of their school climate than their teachers. The relationship between perceptions of school climate of secondary school students and teachers was also non significant, indicating disparate student teacher views at the secondary level as well. Both elementary and secondary school student surveys resulted in an overall climate rating that is lower than their respective teacher ratings for each of the three districts (Ta ble s 4 and 5). Chi squared test s w ere conducted to determine if the se differences are significant. With out exception, statistically significant differences were obtained in each district: District 1 Elementary: ( X 2 =40.142 , df=1, p <=.0001); District 1 Seco ndary: ( X 2 =8.446, df=1, p <=.0037);

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28 District 2 Elementary: ( X 2 =86.182, df=1, p <=.0129); District 2 Secondary ( X 2 =0, df=1, p <=1.0); District 3 Elementary: ( X 2 =9.091, df=1, p <=.0026) ; District 3 Secondary: ( X 2 =9.444, df=1, p <=.0021) . Results indicate significantly more teachers reported positive attitudes towards climate than students in each district. TABLE 4 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RESULTS PERCENTAGE OF POSITIVE RESPONSES District Respondent CATEGORIES Overall Climate Rating Positive Relationships Feel Supported/ Valued Ownership Over Learning/ Teaching Meeting Diverse Learning Needs Organization /Behavioral Engagement School Belonging 1 Student (n=142) 78% 81% 68% 80% 69% 62% 73% 1 Teacher (n=29) 83% 75% 89% 87% 58% 96% 81% 2 Student (n=47) 80% 88% 57% 80% 78% 61% 74% 2 Teacher (n=13) 97% 100% 93% 83% 67% 100% 90% 3 Student (n=150) 89% 87% 57% 71% 72% 64% 73% 3 Teacher (n=50) 97% 85% 89% 80% 50% 96% 83%

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29 Correlational analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between student climate reports and academic growth scores. These results are presented in Table 6. None of the results were statistically significant, suggesting that for both elementary and secondary students, their perceptions of the school climate are not associated with academic growth scores. The es was also examined via correlational analyses. No significant results were obtained. Likewise, the correlation between perceptions of school climate of significant. TABLE 5 SECON DARY SCHOOL RESULTS PERCENTAGE OF POSITIVE RESPONSES District Respondent CATEGORIES Overall Climate Rating Positive Relationships Feel Supported/ Valued Ownership Over Learning/ Teaching Meeting Diverse Learning Needs Organization /Behavioral Engagement School Belonging 1 Student (n=412) 67% 69% 70% 53% 59% 57% 63% 1 Teacher (n=29) 90% 92% 92% 94% 48% 96% 85% 2 Student (n=95) 61% 58% 70% 51% 60% 45% 58% 2 Teacher (n=15) 100% 94% 90% 91% 67% 100% 90% 3 Student (n=270) 59% 57% 68% 40% 57% 49% 55% 3 Teacher (n=39) 88% 78% 88% 84% 54% 96% 81%

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30 TABLE 6 ACADEMIC GROWTH SCORES 2018 District School Level Growth Percentage of Total Points Earned 1 Elementary 50% 1 Secondary 74.3% 2 Elementary 87.5% 2 Secondary 64.4% 3 Elementary 46% 3 Secondary 66.7%

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31 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION Colorado public school districts are responsible for conducting an evaluation of their plan for the following year (Dee & Jacob, 2011). All districts i n Colorado are evaluated in the same manner, regardless of the ir access or lac k of access to certain resources. Colorado schools in rural areas traditional ly face disproportional hards hips compared to their more affluent counter parts. They tend to struggle more when it comes to attracting teachers, offering students a large variety of extracurricular activities and in many cases, receive significantly less funding ( Regional Educational Lab oratory Central , 2008; USDE, 2018b ; Colorado Succeeds, 2018; Colorado Legislative Staff, 2018 ) . In an effort to save money, several districts throughout the state have even moved to a four day a week ye t are still held to the same academic standards as a school maintaining a traditional schedule (Colorado Department of Education, 2018c) . In order to make assessment more equitable across Colorado, the state was provided more flexibility in their evaluation process through the Consolidated State Plan Under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The latest version of the ESSA plan states the importance of assessing school climate as an additional measure , yet acknowledge s additional re search is needed to effectively provide schools with meaningful information ( CDE, 2018b) . To investigate how climate can be used as a performance measure, the present study was conducted . Sc hool climate data were collected from three rural schools in Colorado during the fall of 2018 via electronic surveys . Chi square analyses revealed significant differences between

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32 school students reporting a fav orable view. This is consistent with previous research (e.g., Pashiardis , 2000). Correlat ional analyses revealed no significant relationship s between student and teacher views of school climate at the elementary and secondary levels . However, t he differences between student and teacher reports were determined to be significant for every district at both the elementary and secondary levels. . Results also indicated no significant relationships between student and teacher school climate data and their correspond ing academic growth scores as reported by the Colorado Department of Education. F indings suggest that both e lementary and s econdary students have a less positive view of their environment than their teachers. Such differences indicate the importance of obtaining school climate data from multiple stakeholders ( Silins & Mulford , 2004). This is key if the CDE is to move forward with their plan to expand yearly performance ratings. It may also be helpful for ad ministration to understand that teachers perspectives may not accurately reflect their are looking to improve school culture, engagement , and their with their learning experienc e, both students and teacher s need to be includ ed in the process. The relationship between climate reports and academic growth scores was no t a significant one for any of the groups. However, t he correlation between e lementary school students ce ptions of school climate and academic growth scores approached significance ( p =.06), indicating some relationship between student report of their school environment and academic performance . No such relationship was found for secondary students or for t eachers at either level . These results contradict previous research that strongly suggests a link between climate and academ ic pe rformance (e.g., Simons Morton & Crump, 2003; Brand et al., 2003 ) .

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33 The se difference s in results could be attributed to a number of factors that make this current study different from the existing body of research. For example, this study u tilized academic growth scores as a measure of academic achievement. Previous research examining the relationship between climate and academic outcomes, relied primarily on academic achievement as their measure of performance ( Berkowitz et. al., 2016). Additional ly, t he re is no agreed upon definition of school climate and consequently, the assessment of climate also varie d from study to study (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016). The present study approached the assessment of school climate in a way that aligns with some newe Additionally, t he majority of previous studies focus ed on climate reports from students ; which are importa nt , but do not address the need and value of including multiple viewpoints (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016; MacNeil et. al, 2009). Fu r ther, little research has focused on the rural context. The data used in this study included teacher perspectives and came only from rural districts that have their own distinct communities, challenges , and benefits that are unique to small schools (USDE, 2018b) . Research indicates that smaller class s izes/smaller schools are cl osely correlated to an increase in student enga gement, closer teacher relationships , and more parent involvement , which in turn leads to a better overall school climate ( Christine et. al, 2008; Goldkind & Lawrence, 2013). Such influences could have impacted study findings . Limitations and Future Directions The findings of the present study must be considered within the context of several limitations. The first limitation relates to the school climate surveys. The student and teacher surveys did not ask the same questions and therefore could not be directly compared item by item. In order to dive deeper into the differences in opinions between students and teachers, it

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34 would be beneficial to develop a survey that could be dually administered to both groups so a more direct comparison c ould be made. Additionally, no o ther relevant stakeholders were surveyed, limiting the scope of the findings. Future research should include other perspectives such as those of parents and administration. Finally, t he size and nature of the study sample are notable limitation s . Only three school s in rural areas we re included and consequently, results cannot be generalized to schools with larg er class sizes, larger campuses, and urban and suburban contexts . If school climate is going to be included in al evaluation, the method for data collection will need to capture information accurately for all schools within Colorado. Conclusions Findings from the present study indicate significant differences in perception s of the s chool climate between elementary school and secondary school students, with a higher percentage of elementary school students rating the climate positively. Such differences are consistent with previous research ( Pashiardis , 2000) and may be due in part to school size (Ma, 2001) . Regardless, additional, targeted efforts should be made to improving school climate in secondary schools. R esults also suggest disparate student and teacher views of the school climate. In general, teachers ra ted the school climate more positively than did the students. This was true at both the elementary and secondary levels. Teachers may feel they are meeting all of the needs of their students but may be completely unaware of how their students actually fee l. The differences found between student and teacher reports highlight the importance of collect ing information on climate from both student and teachers .

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35 Although not true for the present study, p revious research has indicated a strong relationship betwe en a positive school climate and academic performance (Berkowtiz et. al, 2016) . Consequently, different perspectives need to be considered when developing and implementing strategies designed to foster a positive school climate which in turn can enhance st udent academic growth and performance.

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36 REFERENCES Abrams, L. M., Pedulla, J. J., & Madaus, G. F. (2003) Views from the classroom: Teachers' opinions of statewide testing programs. Theory i nto Practice , 42(1), 18 29. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4201_4 Berkowitz, R., Moore, H., Astor, R., & Benbenishty, R. (2016). A research synthesis of the associations between socioeconomic background, inequality, school climate, and academic achievement. Review of Educational Research , 87(2), 1 45. doi:10.3102/0034654316669821 Brand, S., Felner, R., Shim, M., Seitsinger, A., & Dumas, T. (2003). Middle school improvement and reform: Development and validation of a school level assessment of climate, cultural pluralism, and scho ol safety. Journal of Educational Psychology , 95(3), 570 588. http://dx.doi.org.aurarialibrary.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/0022 0663.95.3.570 Claro, S., Paunesku, D., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Retrieved from: http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/113/31/8664.full.pdf Colorado Department of Education . (2019). School Climate. Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.us/dropoutprevention/schoolclimateandculturalproficiency Colorado Department of Education. (2018a). District and School Performance Frameworks . Retrieved from: http://www.cde.state.co.us/Accountability/PerformanceFrameworks.asp Colorado Department of Education (2018b). Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA ). Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/essa Colorado Department of Education (2018c). The Four Day School Week Informational Manual. Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.u s/cdeedserv/fourdayschoolweekmanual Colorado Department of Education (2018d). Colorado Education Facts and Figures . Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/coeducationfactsandfigures Colorado Department of Education (2018e). Teacher & Learning Conditions Colorado. Retrieved from: http://www.tlccsurvey.org/ Colorado Departme nt of Education. (2017a). Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): HUB committee summary report . Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/essahubcommreport Colorado Departm ent of Education. (2017b). Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). Retrieved from: https://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/co consolidatedstateplan final websitepdf

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38 Drakeford, W. 2004. Racial Disproportionality in School Disciplinary Practices: Practitioner Brief . Tempe: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCREST). Retrieved from: http://www.niusileadscape.org/docs/FINAL_PRODUCTS/NCCRESt/practit ioner_briefs/ %95%20TEMPLATE/DRAFTS/AUTHOR%20revisions/annablis%20pracbrief%20temp lates/School_Discipline_hi.pdf Dweck, C. (2017). understanding of learning. MindsetWorks . Retrieved from: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/ Fredricks, J., Blum enfeld, P., & Paris, A. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. Review of Educational Research , 74(1), 59 109. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.aurarialibrary.idm.oclc.org/stable/3516061 Chalkbeat . Retrieved from: https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2017/07/05/f rom csap to parcc heres how colorados standardized tests have changed and whats next/ Garcia, N. (2017, October 12). A center of the opt out movement, Colorado will now penalize schools whose students skip tests. Chalkbeat . Retrieved from: https://denverite.com/2017/10/12/center opt movement colorado will now penalize schools whose students skip tests/ Goldkind, L. & Farmer, L . G. (2013). The enduring influence of school size and school climate School Community Journal, 23(1), 223 244. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259443682_223_ School_Community_Journal_2013_Vol_23_No_1_The_Enduring_Influence_of_School_ Size_and_School_Climate_on_Parents'_Engagement_in_the_School_Community Gase, L. N., Gomez, L. M., Kuo, T. , Glenn, B. A., Inkelas, M., & Ponce, N. A. (2017). Relationships among st udent, staff, and administrative measures of school climate and student health and academic outcomes. Journal of School Health , 87(5), 319 328. doi:10.1111/josh.12501 Growski, E. (2015, November 12). Tens of thousands of Colorado students opted out of PAR CC tests last spring, new data shows. Chalkbeat . Retrieved from: https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2015/11/12/tens of thousands of colorado students opted out of parcc tests last spring new data shows/ Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19(4), 451 464. Retrieved from: https://www sciencedirect com.aurarialibrary.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0927537112000577?via%3Dihub

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39 Jacob, B., & Levitt, S. (2003). Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence an d Predictors of Teacher Cheating. The Quarterly Journal of Economics , 118(3), 843 877. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.aurarialibrary.idm.oclc.org/stable/25053925 Jefferson County Public Schools. (2016). A Synthesis of Deeper Learning . Retrieved from: https://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/sites/default/files/DeeperLearningOver.pdf school climate. Learning Environment Research , 9 , 111 122. doi: 10.1007/s10984 006 9007 7 Kane, E., Hoff, N., Cathcart, A., Heifner, A., Palmon, S., & Peterson, R. (2016). School Climate and Culture: Strategy Brief February, 2016. University of Nebraska Lincoln: Student Engagement Project. Retrieved from: https://k12engagement.unl.edu/ Kelle, U. (1995). Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc. Klein, A. (April 10, 2015). No Child Left Behind: An Overview. Education Week . Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/no child le ft behind overview definition summary.html Koth, C. W., Bradshaw, C. P., & Leaf, P. J. (2008). A multilevel study of predictors of student perceptions of school climate: the effect of classroom level factors. Journal of Educational Psychology , 100(1), 96 104. doi: 10.1037/0022 0663.100.1.96 Loukas, A. & Robinson, S. (2004). Examining the moderating role of perceived school climate in early adolescent adjustment. Journal of Research on Adolescence , 14(2), 209 233. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532 7795.2004.01402004.x Ma, X. (2001). Bullying and being bullied: To what extent are bullies also victims? American Educational Research Journal, 38, 351 370 . MacNeil, A., Prater, D., & Busch, S., (2009). The effects of schoo l culture and climate on student achievement. International Journal of Leadership in Educat ion, 12(1), 73 84. doi: 10.1080/13603120701576241 Written Communicatio n , 25(4), 462 505. doi: 10.1177/0741088308322554 Monk, D.H. (2007). Recruiting and retaining high quality teachers in rural areas. Future of Children , 17(1). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ795884.pdf National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2004). Engaging Schools: Fostering High Washing, DC: The National Academies Press.

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40 Student Engage ment and Motivation Webinar #1 . [Power Point] Pashiardis, G. (2000). School climate in elementary and secondary schools: Views of Cypriot principals and teachers. International Journal of Educational Management , 14 (5), 224 237. Pena Shaff, J. B., Bessette Symons, B., Tate, M. & Fingerhut, J. (2017). Racial and ethnic differences practices. Race and Ethnicity Education. doi: 10.1080/13613324.2018.1468747 Piettarinen, J., Soini, the determinants of well being and achievement in school. International Journal of Educational Research . 67, 40 51. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2014.05.001 Regional Educational Laboratory Central (2008). Preparing Teachers to Teach in Rural Schools: Summary. Retrieved from: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/central/pdf/REL_2008045_sum.pdf Salanda, J. (2015). The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc. Schafft, K. A. (February, 2016). Rural Education As Rural Development: Understanding the rural school community well being linkage in a 21 st centu ry policy context. Peabody Journal of Education, 91(2). Retrieved from: https://www tandfonline com.aurarialibrary.idm.oclc.org/doi/full/10.1080/0161956X.2016.1151734?scroll=top&n eedAccess=true# Shenton, A. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information, 22 , 63 75. Sheridan, S., Dynarksi, M., Bovaird, B., Hawley, L, Witte, A., Homles, S., Coutts, M. & Arthur, A. (March, 2017). Studying Educational Effectiveness in Rural Settings: A Guide for Re searchers. Retrieved from: https://r2ed.unl.edu/resources/downloads/2017 wp/Studying Educational Effectiveness in Rural Settings.pdf Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kinderman, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology , 100(4), 765 781. doi: 10.1037/a0012840 Siedel, K. (2018). Technical Report, April 27, 2018: 2018 Teaching and Learning Conditions in Colorado (TLCC) Survey. Retrieved from: http://www.cde.state.co.us/tlcc/tlcc2018finaltechnicalreport_seidel Silins, H., & Mulford, B. (2004). Schools as learnin g organizations Effects on teacher leadership and student outcomes. School effectiveness and school improvement , 15 (3 4), 443 466.

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41 Simons Morton, B. G., & Crump, A. D. (2003). Association of parental involvement and so cial competence with school adjustment and engagement among sixth graders. Journal of School Health, 73 , 121 126. doi:10.1111/j.1746 1561.2003.tb03586.x Student Centered Accountability Project. (2018). S CAP Guidebook. Retrieved from: https://sites.google .com/view/scapcolorado/home Student Centered Accountability Project. (2018b). System Support Review (SSR): Learning Climate and Learning Dispositions . Unpublished manuscript. Sturgis, C., & Casey, K. (2018). Levers and Logic Models: A Framework to Guide Research and Design of High Quality Competency Based Education Systems. CompetencyWorks . Retrieved from: https://www.competencyworks.org/wp content/uploads/2018/05/CompetencyWo rks Levers and Logic Models.pdf Strauss, V. (2015, April 1). How and why convicted Atlanta teachers cheated on standardized tests. T he Washington Post . Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer sheet/wp/2015/04/01/how and why convicted at lanta teachers cheated on standardized tests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f26820b377e2 Tableman, B., & Herron, A. (2004). Best practices briefs: School climate and learning. University of Community Partnerships at Michigan State University . Retrieved from: http://outreach.msu.edu/bpbriefs/issues/brief31.pdf Transforming Education. (2015). The 3Ms Framework . Retrieved from: https://www.transformingeducation.org/three m s/ United States Department of Education. (2018 a ). ED School Climate Survey. National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environment. Retrieved from: https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/edscls/measures#Topic%20A reas%20the%20EDSC LS%20Measures United States Department of Education (2018b). Section 5005 Report on Rural Education. Retrieved from: https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/rural/rural education report.pdf Urdan, T., & Schoenfelder, E. (2006). Classroom effects on student motivation: Goal structures, social relationships, and competence beliefs. Journal of School Psychology , 44 , 331 345. d oi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2006.04.003 Valli, L., & Buese, D. (2007). The changing roles of teachers in an era of high stakes accountability. American Educational Research Journal. 44(3), 519 558. doi:10.3102/0002831207306859

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42 Voyer, D. & Voyer, S. (2014). Gender differences in scholastic achievement: A meta analysis. Psychological Bulletin , 140(4), 1174 1204. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul a0036620.pdf , engagement, and academic achievement in middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 47(3) , 633 662. doi: 10.3102/0002831209361209 sound off at huge ra lly at state Capitol: Rural teachers are feeling the financial pinch of education funding. Denver Post . Retrieved from: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/27/colorado teacher walkout rural schools/ Wong, A. (2016, April 27). Why would a teacher cheat? The Atlantic . Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/why teachers cheat/480039/

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43 A PPENDIX A

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44 (Seidel, 2018)