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Assessing the Validity and Reliability of the Pennsylvania School Climate Survey for Elementary School Students

by Whitney Kozakowski, Sonia Alves, Michelle Bennett and Alyson Burnett

The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) Office for Safe Schools partnered with REL Mid-Atlantic to conduct a study analyzing the validity and reliability from PDE’s school climate survey for elementary school students. This survey, which is available on a voluntary basis to any school in the state, provides a way for schools to track their school climate and identify aspects of school climate that need additional support. The analysis examined the three domains of the PDE school climate survey: (1) social-emotional learning, (2) safe and respectful school climate, and (3) student support and academic engagement. The study found that the items in each of the three domains measured the constructs that they intended to measure and that the three domains were distinct from one another. However, one domain—safe and respectful school climate—fell short of the established threshold for reliability based on the correlations among the items within the domain. As a result, the study team recommended revisions to the safe and respectful school climate domain of the elementary school student survey to improve its internal consistency reliability.

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