Measuring Parent Perceptions of School Climate

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Measuring Parent Perceptions of School Climate

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Title: Measuring Parent Perceptions of School Climate
Author: Schueler, Beth; Capotosto, Lauren Beth; Bahena, Sofia; McIntyre, Joseph Clark; Gehlbach, Hunter

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Citation: Schueler, Beth E., Lauren Capotosto, Sofía Bahena, Joseph McIntyre and Hunter Gehlbach. 2014. Measuring Parent Perceptions of School Climate. Psychological Assessment xx, no. x:xx-xx.
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Abstract: Parents' attitudes about their children’s schools matter. Their views can shape their children’s attitudes about school, affect their levels of family-school engagement, and influence their residential and school enrollment decisions. This paper describes the development of a survey scale to assess parent perceptions of the climate of their child’s school. Our comprehensive scale development process incorporated feedback from academics and potential respondents from the outset of the design process to enhance scale quality. We conducted three studies with national samples of parents (n = 385; n = 253; n = 266) to gather evidence of scale score reliability and valid score inferences based on convergent/discriminant validity. Through confirmatory factor analysis we identified a theoretically grounded factor structure that fit the data well. Interestingly, we found no evidence that parental response patterns distinguish between academic and social elements of school climate. Furthermore, we found that parents of younger children, on average, had a more positive perception of the school’s climate than parents of older children. We conclude by discussing how researchers and Pre-K – 12 schools and districts can use the scale to aid school improvement efforts.
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