The Structure and Climate of Size: Small Scale Schooling in an Urban District
AdvisorJordan, Will J.
Committee memberGoyette, Kimberly A.
Hill, Marc Lamont
Davis, James Earl
SubjectEducation, Sociology of
Small Learning Community
Urban School Reform
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1699
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis study explores mechanisms involved in small scale schooling and student engagement. Specifically, this study questions the validity of arguments for small scale schooling reforms that confound the promised effects of small scale schooling structures (such as smaller enrollments, schools-within-schools, and smaller class sizes) with the effects of the school climates assumed to follow from these structural changes. Data to address this issue was drawn from the Philadelphia Educational Longitudinal Study - one of the few publically-available datasets to include student-level measures of school-within-a-school participation and relative quality - and supplemented by school-level data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data. Regression analyses were designed to examine whether academic press and/or personalized teacher-student relationships - two aspects of school climate often associated with small scale schooling - mediate the relationships between small scale schooling structures and student engagement. The results suggest a pattern of widespread connections between small scale schooling structures and students' emotional engagement in school, but only a loose connection between these structures and students' behavioral engagement in school. Furthermore, school climate does, in fact, mediate many of the relationships between small scale schooling structures and emotional engagement; however, it does not fully mediate the relationship between small scale schooling structure and behavioral engagement. Findings relating student engagement to the quality of small learning communities relative to others in the same school suggest that comprehensive schools that are broken down into smaller within-school units may create a new mechanism for tracking students. Those who participate in relatively high quality small learning communities like school more and participate in more extracurricular activities/sports than students who participate in relatively low quality small learning communities or in no small learning community at all. These relationships are not mediated by school climate. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that the results of small scale schooling reforms are largely dependent on the school climates where they are instituted.
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The effects of school uniforms on school climate in elementary schoolIkpa, Vivian W.; Davis, James Earl; DuCette, Joseph P.; Sanford-DeShields, Jayminn (Temple University. Libraries, 2009)This research sought to explore the link between mandatory school uniforms and a positive school climate. Beginning in the late 1980's public schools implemented mandatory school uniforms policies in urban school districts. The trend gained momentum when President Clinton included school uniforms in his 1996 State of the Union Address. Directly following the speech was a publication by the United States Department of Education on school uniforms that was distributed to all school districts in the country. Often the primary reason for implementing school uniforms was gang violence. Other reason included increased school safety and decreases in violence. Further, proponents believed uniforms would increase academic achievement and improve school climate. Research on the effects of school uniforms is limited and conflicting. Most studies available to date were conducted in urban settings. However, school uniforms have infiltrated rural and suburban schools districts as well. Two school districts in suburban Eastern Pennsylvania participated in this study. One school district had a mandatory school uniform policy. The other did not. Using a school climate survey and school uniform questionnaire, students in grades 4-6 and elementary school teachers rated the school climate in their respective schools. School climate was rated on seven subscales on the student school climate survey and 10 subscales on the faculty school climate survey. A t-test was performed on the data set to determine the difference between sample means and a factor analysis was conducted on the student school climate survey. Further, three themes emerged from the short answer questions on the student uniform questionnaire. The results of the research found that there was not a statistically significant relationship between a mandatory school uniform policy and elementary school students' perceptions of school climate. Of the seven subscales, students who wore school uniforms rated their peer relationships higher than students without school uniforms. Additionally, they rated the required rigor higher. Students that did not wear school uniforms rated the teacher-student relationship higher. When responding to the open ended questions, three themes emerged. They were expression, atmosphere and family. In essence, students were not in favor of wearing uniforms and believed uniforms suppressed their freedom of expression. Teachers responded similarly. The results showed no statistically significant relationship between a mandatory school uniform policy and teacher perceptions of school climate. Only two subscales showed any significant difference between the two groups of teachers. They were teacher-administrator relationship and student achievement. In both respects, teachers in the district without uniforms responded more positively. The results of this study should be used when reviewing current policy or considering new policy on school uniforms.
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#BlackGirlsMatter: African American Girls’ Experiences with School Discipline Practices and Their Academic Identity in Middle SchoolCordes, Sarah A.; Hall, John; Fergus, Edward, 1974- (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)This qualitative study explored the relationship between ten African American girls’ experiences with discipline practices and their academic identity in middle school. In the U.S., Black girls continue to suffer from inequitable treatment in school discipline resulting in disparate academic outcomes and have higher suspension rates than all other students including boys. This study attempted to answer the central question: what is the relationship between students’ experiences with school discipline practices and their academic identity? Ten African American girls associated with a middle school in New York fit the following criteria: (1) students in grades 6-8; a female student (2) self-identified as being African American (3) have received an out of school suspension in the previous school year. A one-on-one interview was conducted with the girls individually. The five major themes were related to: (a) good vs. bad student, (b) strict rules, (c) negative and positive teacher-student relationships, (d) different treatment by black and white teachers, and (e) role of peers. The conclusions derived from the study were: (1) African American girls educational experiences are influenced by teachers’ and administrators’ lack of cultural knowledge and understanding; thus, teachers and administrators can reflect how their biases manifest themselves in disciplinary actions, educational outcomes and student participation (2) teachers and administrators can work together to develop different ways to support African Americans to feel welcome and safe in school. (3) Teachers and administrators need to review and revise the current school discipline policies that are too harsh. Addressing these issues will help support African American girls to be successful in middle school.