Positive school climate can reduce socioeconomic gap

New York, Nov 2 (IANS) Positive school climate helps students not just to achieve academic excellence but also improve outcomes for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, according to a new study.

Researchers found substantial evidence that schools with positive climates can narrow achievement gaps among students of different socioeconomic backgrounds and between students with stronger and weaker academic abilities.

“Our analysis shows that schools do matter and can do much to improve academic outcomes. Our findings suggest that by promoting a positive climate, schools can allow greater equality in educational opportunities, decrease socioeconomic inequalities, and enable more social mobility,” said Ron Avi Astor, professor at the University of Southern California, in the US.

For their study, published in the Review of Educational Research, the researchers analysed 78 studies that focused on the relationship between school or classroom climate, academic achievement, and socioeconomic status.

In their analysis, the authors found great variation in the school climate definitions and measurements used by researchers, reflecting the absence of clear and uniform standards.

The analysis also found no correlation between socioeconomic status and perceptions of school climate. This suggests that schools serving students of lower socioeconomic status do not necessarily have poor climates and that positive climates can be nurtured in these schools.

“Positive school climate has the potential to break the negative influences that stem from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and to mitigate risk factors that threaten academic achievement,” said Ruth Berkowitz, assistant professor of social work at the University of Haifa, Israel.

–IANS

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