AERA: Early Results in California's CORE Districts Give Lessons for ESSA

May 02, 2017

By Sarah D. Sparks


In a separate study, Heather Hough, Demetra Kalogrides, and Susanna Loeb of Stanford found 5 percent of the differences in schools' math growth in elementary school and 6 percent of the differences in math growth in middle schools, as well as 11 percent of the differences in high schools' graduation rates, could be explained by differences in their school climate and student-reported social skills. That was the case even after controlling for school demographics and quality indicators, like teacher quality. Combining the results of the student social-skills surveys and school climate surveys accounted for 21 percent of the difference in math scores for the lowest-performing 5 percent of low-performing schools.

Interestingly, Hough found teachers and parents typically agreed on the climate of a school, but students' responses often differed.

"Students experience the school very differently depending on how they are treated and who they associate with. The adults experienced not necessarily the right view of school climate, but the same view of school climate," Hough said. "We have to dig into what this means. If parents think the school culture or climate is bad but students don't, what does that mean for how we improve the school?"