Information Brief 2012-41

Fostering a Positive and Supportive Learning Atmosphere

A Look at Higher Performing High Schools

A fall 2011 study surveyed teachers and administrators from higher performing high schools and assessed what school qualities educators see as contributing most to student achievement.

Educators at the higher performing high schools place great importance on factors related to school climate, including relationships between teachers and students, having a safe and orderly environment, and teachers being skilled in classroom management. The chart shows that ratings were clearly higher for these school qualities than were typically reported across all 46 qualities surveyed.

School Qualities Fostering a Positive and Supportive Learning Atmosphere

School QualityIn AgreementResponding Contributes "a Great Deal"
Averages across 46 school qualities surveyed75%44%
Strong relationships between students and teachers exist throughout this school.94%74%
This school’s environment is safe and orderly.94%68%
Teachers are skilled at classroom management.93%61%

Note: Data come from 272 educators from 63 high performing high schools across 25 states. Schools were selected based on students’ growth towards college and career readiness or based on improvement in average ACT scores over time.

1 Casillas et al. (2011). Development and Validation of ENGAGE™ Grades 6–9. ACT Research Report 2011-1. Iowa City: ACT, Inc.

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