The Effects of School Climate on Student Achievement

The thesis of the work is that creating a favorable psychological climate for the educational process has a positive effect on students’ academic performance. Although existing research demonstrates a clear relationship between community climate and student achievement (Halpin and Croft, 1962), it is still not fully understood the effects of the psychological environment. However, as long as educational reforms do not consider the importance of the climate in educational institutions, it will not be possible to improve low academic performance (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). One of the main factors in learning satisfaction is a smooth socio-psychological environment in an organization. The latter means a positive emotional state between students, a good relationship with the teacher, the availability of support and a comfortable study place, and the level of activity, efficiency, and satisfaction of team members with the educational process. The socio-psychological climate is based on people’s interpersonal relationships and therefore is an indicator of their condition.

Education takes up most of a person’s lifetime, during which there is an active development of his personality. Therefore, an essential condition for the successful development of students’ characters is the presence in the educational institution of a favorable socio-psychological climate (Wang et al., 1997). The psychological environment develops during some time of active existence of groups, becoming a stable formation from the repeated reproduction of the socio-psychological atmosphere, which, unlike the climate, is unstable and changeable. It takes time and some history of the group’s life to establish the environment.

Classes with mutual assistance, a sense of belonging, and trust between students and teachers achieve the best academic results. The psychological climate of the classroom is an essential factor in a person’s life, influencing the entire system of social relations (Hoy et al., 1991). These include the lifestyle of students, their daily well-being, performance, and the level of creative and personal self-realization. This influence can be very diverse, and its nature depends on many factors.

Of great importance for forming a favorable psychological climate is the extent to which the activity is interesting, diverse, creative for the student, whether it corresponds to his level. It is equally important to note whether such an activity allows him to realize his creative potential and grow. The attractiveness of an activity depends on how its conditions correspond to the subject’s expectations and whether they will enable him to realize his interests and satisfy the individual’s needs (Konold et al., 2018). Their essential components are specific indicators of the air temperature in the classroom, atmospheric pressure, the level of acoustic noise, the presence of vibrations, the illumination of the student’s workplace, and others. Another component is the characteristics of the student’s partners: age, anatomical, physiological and personal characteristics of both other students and teachers.

Classmates’ life situations, roles and positions, goals, and priorities can be affected by the changes happening in the class. These circumstances can ultimately affect the academic performance of students. Therefore, the leader can significantly influence the nature of interpersonal relations in the class, the attitude to joint activities, satisfaction with the conditions, and results of the educational process (Johnson & Stevens, 2006). The discovered relationship between students’ academic success and the atmosphere in the class obliges one to study the existing research on this topic. It was found that how students behave is influenced by their anticipation of a specific reaction from other group members.

Gang, G. C. A., Han, C. G. K., & Bansa, L. A. (2019). Contribution of psychological factors on academic achievement of rural students in the interior school of Sabah Division. International Journal of Education, Psychology and Counseling, 4(27), 76-90.

This article focuses on three psychological dimensions of parental support, psychological well-being, and self-efficacy. The latter is seen as a central determinant of human behavior (Gang et al., 2019). Such a behavioral dominant provides the priority of a particular neuropsychic process or phenomenon over others to its natural completion. People with high self-efficacy are considered more assertive and less anxious. They learn better and have higher self-esteem, and are less prone to depression. At the same time, the idea of ​​self-efficacy is a private, specific, and not a global characteristic of an individual. It is not associated with assessing his own personality but reflects the individual’s confidence to cope with particular tasks. Psychological well-being is understood primarily as a subjective reality that most fully finds its expression in its emotional well-being and self-attitude. Positive intrafamilial social capital is one of the keys to the well-being of adolescents.

The mental activity of students often occurs in a situation of regular emotional stress. This tension is due to the need to study many disciplines in a relatively short time simultaneously. At the same time, a connection was established between personal anxiety and the level of abilities. A high level of stress poses a threat to the mental health of the individual, contributes to the development of pre-neurotic states, and negatively affects activity results.

Methodology: The study involved students from 21 rural schools in the inner district of Sabah. For data analysis, hierarchical regression analysis was used, the essence of which is to identify the influence of one variable on another. The study was based on self-determination theory (STD), which deals with an individual’s interaction with the social environment and dependence on it (Gang et al., 2019). The necessary approval from the Ministry of Education was obtained, and additional meetings were held with teachers and principals of the schools where the research was carried out. Academic achievement was measured based on recent examinations and results reported by students.

Results: These three analyzed psychological aspects were found to be predictors of academic performance. The questionnaire consisted of four parts and was used by researchers to measure all variables. In the paper, it has been found that parental support, as shown in previous studies, contributes to student academic achievement (Gang et al., 2019). At the same time, the assessment was carried out based on the students’ perception of their parents regarding their participation in students’ learning process. When conducting anonymous research, there is a problem with establishing the uniqueness of a person’s participation in a survey. During the interviews, measures were taken to ensure anonymity and impartiality, and consent was obtained from the participants to conduct the study.

Implications: The possibilities of applying the research results are different; in particular, it is possible to create appropriate academic programs that consider the influence of three factors on academic performance in schools. It is intended to educate parents about the importance of supporting learners and their role in creating a positive climate (Gang et al., 2019). The paper highlighted the importance of filling the gaps in parental involvement, which makes it necessary to monitor the participation of parents in education for their children. It has been proven that this aspect (parental involvement) positively affects youths’ academic performance. The learning environment of schoolchildren should make them want to integrate into the learning process, not be toxic. Accordingly, it is necessary to ensure control over preserving a warm climate within individual school collectives and within the school as a whole.

Dulay, S., & Karadağ, E. (2017). The effect of school climate on student achievement. In E. Karadağ (Ed.). The factors effecting student achievement (pp. 199-213). Springer.

The paper is a meta-analytical study based on a review of the available literature on the impact of the environment on student achievement. There are more than a dozen definitions of the socio-psychological climate in USA psychology. There is no complete agreement between researchers on the issues related to the study of the socio-psychological climate. The disagreements arise concerning the use of the term itself and the definitions given to it in different years. This situation occurs because of different research approaches to the study of the socio-psychological climate (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). Differences in terms are accompanied by differences in understanding the essence of this phenomenon.

Methodology: During the article’s creation, the authors collected 237 studies, 90 of which were included in the meta-analysis. It was supposed to confirm or refute the hypotheses put forward by the researchers. Among them, particularly, the assumption that the climate has a positive effect on student performance and the idea that the year of publication of the study is a moderator of the positive impact of the environment on student performance. The study included doctoral dissertations and peer-reviewed journals, while the year of their publication needed to be no earlier than 2016. Based on the title of the works and their content, it was supposed to separate relevant materials from those not related to research (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). In particular, the authors removed some articles from the study because they did not provide quantitative data or it was impossible to track the correlation coefficient.

Results: The study led the authors to conclude that climate has a moderately positive effect on student achievement. It was possible to find out that the environment has a notable influence on developing general reading skills and improving the GPA in subjects such as mathematics, English, and science (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). However, one of the hypotheses was not supported – the differences in the degree of the influence of climate depending on the type of culture turned out to be insignificant.

Implications: The discovered relationship between climate and improved reading skills indicates the need to ensure control over preserving and establishing a favorable atmosphere in educational institutions. A possible way to implement this control would be the creation of administrative bodies within schools responsible for this aspect. Meetings with teachers and parents should be held to remind them of the importance of a positive attitude towards learners (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). In addition, it is worth conducting preventive conversations aimed at combating bullying and any discrimination against students within the team.

Teachers are the persons who can influence the maintenance of a positive atmosphere during the learning process. They have many opportunities to demonstrate to students that they are satisfied with their accomplishments or efforts (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). Teachers and psychologists believe that one of the reasons for student failure is a high level of school anxiety. They (teachers) need to stress and anxiety and provide an appropriate learning environment for them to be less exposed to adverse stressors. It should be understood that the psychological climate shows the general mood of the people, where their emotional experiences and worries, the attitude of people to each other, work, and surrounding events are combined. Therefore, it is unacceptable to expose this atmosphere prevailing in the group to any negative changes.

Konold, T., Cornell, D., Jia, Y., & Malone, M. (2018). School climate, student engagement, and academic achievement: A latent variable, multilevel multi-informant examination. AERA Open, 4(4), 1-17.

Scientific developments on the topic of authoritative school climate have become essential because the effectiveness of this management method in schools has been proven. Several recent pieces of research have shown that a school climate with high expectations and supportive teacher relationships is associated with higher achievement (Crowley et al., 2019; Alonso-Tapia et al., 2020). Parents who pin their hopes on the high academic performance of their children help their children do better. But this happens only if the expectations of adults are accurate; the inflated bar leads to the opposite result. Therefore, one of the tasks of schools is to form realistic expectations of the child’s academic performance among parents. The credibility-based leadership of teachers and their support results in improved discipline, less aggressive behavior, and enhanced student learning.

Methodology: This study was conducted using a sample of students and teachers from 320 Virginia high schools. The essence of the research was to complete an anonymous online survey among the participants. To maintain the anonymity of teachers, the researchers did not collect any demographic information other than race, gender, and work experience. Students completed the questionnaire in the classroom under the supervision of a teacher or school staff representative. At the same time, during the assignment, the participants were provided with standard instructions. As stipulated by the school curriculum, students receive academic achievement only at the end of the year. In contrast, survey participants in the middle of the school year obtained the school climate indicators.

Results: The study results confirm the school climate model, consisting of the social environment characteristics reflected in interpersonal interactions and relationships between students and adults at school. It was possible to find out that high expectations of adults from students are associated with increased student involvement, which mediates academic performance. In Konold’s article (2018), the climate’s idea is expanded and presented as a system affecting many aspects of schools and their stakeholders. Previously indicated in the article thesis, according to which authoritative schools have a higher level of student involvement, was confirmed. The most effective approach uses a mixed leadership style, containing both authoritarian and democratic methods of influencing students. A combination of these styles creates a favorable psychological climate in the classroom. At the same time, the high demands on students must be compensated by the emotional support given by teachers throughout the learning activity.

In the process of climate formation, a system of interpersonal relations is formed that determines the social and psychological well-being of each member of the group. Therefore, even one person in a team can fundamentally influence the mood of many students, thereby exposing them to a situation in which their academic performance could deteriorate. After all, the climate manifests itself in many ways: in emotional, behavioral, cognitive, moral, and ideological terms. It affects the activity of the individual and the general action of the team.

Implications: The study under review lays the foundation for interventional research that may provide more compelling evidence that adjusting the school climate affects student achievement by enhancing student engagement. Knowing the peculiarities and specifics of students’ behavior within the team, the leader can fully and completely predict and direct their behavior in the required direction (Nadelson et al., 2020). It is tied to the aspect that each group has its own psychological inclinations, behavioral climate. Insufficient attention to the social aspects of management can lead to unhealthy relationships within the group. This aspect can qualitatively reduce students’ interest in the educational process and form an adverse moral and psychological climate.

Maxwell, S., Reynolds, K. J., Lee, E., Subasic, E., & Bromhead, D. (2017). The impact of school climate and school identification on academic achievement: Multilevel modeling with student and teacher data. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2069.

Multilevel analysis is designed to identify causal relationships between phenomena. Therefore, its use in the analyzed article was appropriate since the purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between climate and student performance. In addition, the paper aimed to discuss the influence of the school as a whole. This kind of analysis allows researchers to capture potential differences in many interrelated aspects (Maxwell et al., 2017). Due to it, a complete understanding of the interactions between variables is revealed.

Methodology: For the study, a multilevel model was created, consisting of several sources of information. These include objective school reports on academic performance, student-generated ones, and demographic data. Such reports make it possible to see a general understanding of the class’s progress for a selected time interval. It reflects all the subjects’ tasks, grades for them, average rates for each assignment, and the percentage of knowledge quality. Mathematical tests and literacy tests were carried out to assess academic performance. Demographics included parental education levels, SES grade level, and student grades (Maxwell et al., 2017). An online survey was conducted among all students in grades 7 and 9. It is worth noting that student consent was obtained to complete such a survey. Survey responses were scored on a Likert scale, and the survey was conducted in the same format among Australian teachers in schools. When working with the scale, the subjects assess the degree of agreement or disagreement with each judgment, from “completely agree” to “completely disagree.”

Results: The results showed that students’ perceptions of the school climate contribute to their writing and numeracy abilities. Three of the four hypotheses were supported. It was assumed that the identification of the school by the staff was to moderate the influence of the perception of the staff on student performance, but this has not been confirmed (Maxwell et al., 2017). Learning to read and write is an essential part of a child’s schooling. Therefore, violations of writing and reading can rightfully be attributed to socially significant developmental anomalies. Functional illiteracy limits socialization possibilities and creates obstacles for the practical use of written discourse in various socially substantial situations. The factors influencing the success of mastering the reading skill include the peculiarities of writing in the language in which the child learns to read, features of building an educational program and teacher tactics, and the child’s reading ability. Creating a positive climate based on the research results accelerates the process of mastering basic knowledge, which makes it necessary to pay attention to this aspect when implementing an educational program.

Implications: The significance of the results obtained is essential for subsequent research in the field of sociology and education. Formation and improvement of the socio-psychological climate is a constant practical task of class teachers, subject teachers, school psychologists, and administrative bodies (Maxwell et al., 2017). The period of entire perception of the values ​​and characteristics of culture in the learning environment for beginners is more than one year and, in general, is associated with the degree of involvement in the activity. A positive psychological climate in the team reduces adaptation duration and speeds up the student’s inclusion in the educational process.

Adjustment of students to learning conditions has its own specifics. Success in training can be not only and not so much an indicator of general giftedness or high working capacity, but also an indicator of adaptation. This interconnection is especially true for international students, separated from their previous living conditions and familiar surroundings. Since improving the quality of education was and is one of the main tasks of any educational system, it is necessary to improve the indicators of student learning, which can be facilitated by improving the climate in the class.

Pobbi, M., Kor, J., & Opare, J. (2019). The impact of school climate on academic performance: A case of Ghanaian schools. Journal of Education and Practice, 9 (22). 83-93.

As the researchers themselves note, even though there have been specific changes in the field of education in Ghana in recent years, there are still gaps between the expected and actual results of the changes being carried out. In particular, this issue is crucial because it touches upon matters of public investment, and therefore, the funds spent are not wasted. To ensure quality education, the authorities have allocated a special section in the country’s financial expenditures. Moreover, there has been a particular tendency towards a decrease in student performance in recent years.

It was evident to the researchers that although among the reasons for such a deterioration in the quality of education should be named the general state of the economy, poor infrastructure, and inadequate equipment, psychological factors still play a role. The strategic innovations introduced must take into account the cultural and social characteristics of educational institutions in Ghana (Pobbi, Kor & Opare, 2019). The authors in their work have highlighted the importance of leaders as creators of a positive and motivating learning environment.

Methods: The study examined the impact of the school environment on the academic performance of high school students in Ghana. The writing of the work was caused by the need to increase and systematize existing knowledge in school management. It was intended to investigate the specific climatic conditions in the school needed to improve school performance (Pobbi, Kor & Opare, 2019). As part of the study, it was decided to conduct surveys among schoolchildren. Again, the Likert test was used, and all the necessary consents for testing were obtained. It was required to make sure that there was no bias in the study, and therefore a normality test was performed. In addition, structural equation modeling using a confirmatory factor analysis approach confirmed the accuracy of the data.

Results: It turned out that to ensure a high level of academic performance among students, it is necessary to develop a feedback system. Since students are direct participants in the activity, it is easier for them to assess which problems should be paid special attention to. Thus, there is an objective need for school leaders to guarantee that there is an exchange of information between all parties in the school environment (Pobbi, Kor & Opare, 2019). In this study, the authors felt it necessary to point out that active parental involvement is required to accelerate the creation of a positive climate. Their support and constant contact with teachers will help students overcome academic problems. The school climate has a significant impact on student performance during examinations, which traditionally occur at the end of the school year.

Implications: By creating appropriate conditions of psychological comfort in the team through supportive and consulting management styles, it is possible to achieve a more intensive involvement of students in the learning process. Well-organized feedback sessions build trust and team cohesion. Relations among the learners after such criticism do not deteriorate but, on the contrary, become warmer. Students are more likely to help each other, find a common language more quickly, and resolve controversial issues. That is, the climate in the team improves, and therefore potentially increases students’ academic performance. Psychological support is one of the most critical factors in determining the success of the exams. In an atmosphere in which everyone has the opportunity to express oneself and at the same time the confidence that his opinion will be considered, the satisfaction with the educational process increases.


The analyzed articles prove the influence of climate on student performance and the importance of this component for accelerating the learning process. However, according to the research results, various factors influence academic performance. They include the support of teachers (Konold et al., 2018), control over the preservation of a positive climate by the leaders of the educational institution (Pobbi, Kor & Opara, 2019), and positive intra-family capital (Gang et al., 2019). Each team has its own organizational culture, an example of which is set by the leaders. Since what is discussed is uniting people with already established views, the team is a complex phenomenon, consisting of particular stereotypes of thinking. Therefore, the skill of the headmaster is of great importance (Pobbi, Kor & Opara, 2019). It manifests itself in the ability to unite a team while not suppressing individuality and encouraging independence and initiative.

It becomes evident that teachers are perceived as leaders and individuals, characterized by the necessary abilities, qualities, and properties that efficiently control the course of learning in the classroom. At the same time, the set of personal characteristics of a teacher-leader can be extensive. Among the essential qualities for a teacher, one can name the ability to create a space around oneself in which every student wants to be and develop students’ desire to think independently. In addition, the teacher must motivate students to achieve their goals, explain why it is essential and how to achieve those (Konold et al., 2018). It is not difficult for a capable educator to resolve conflicts among classmates and to adjust the atmosphere by making it more pleasant for all participants in the learning process.

A person shows the necessary level of attention only if the activity he performs is enjoyable to him; this causal relationship also applies to educational activities. If the educational activity is of interest to a child or adolescent, then he will succeed in it (Konold et al., 2018). For the training sessions to be attractive to the teenager, it is necessary to maintain his cognitive activity (Pobbi, Kor & Opare, 2019). It will also affect the development of attention and the ability to keep it during the educational activity. This approach will positively influence the success of the studying process and the academic performance of the adolescent. As demonstrated in the study, the importance of maintaining engagement among students cannot be underestimated.

The climate in the same class can change over time; it may be related to the external environment. Such a process occurs since the emotional background directly depends on the leader, who may have challenging periods in life (Pobbi, Kor & Opare, 2019). It is proved that in educational institutions with stable high total marks of students, collective toxicity is reduced, and there is also constant teaching support of students (Konold et al., 2018). While conducting independent studies, researchers conclude that the conditions of the studying process affect the success of joint activities, satisfaction with the process, and the overall academic performance of students. Moreover, as already noted, the studies were carried out independently, but nevertheless, the results obtained were similar.

To find out how the relationship between climate and academic performance, not only surveys were carried out but also the results of examinations of students were assessed. The exams are held at the end of the academic year or semester. Therefore, one of the articles described how the initial survey results were then compared to the student’s test scores (Maxwell et al., 2017). It should be noted that the studies conducted can be characterized by the preservation of the participants’ anonymity and ensuring compliance with the necessary reliability requirements. Some respondents may take part in the survey several times, having a significant impact on the final distribution of answers. The likelihood of this process increases if there is a reward for participating in the study or the survey participant is interested in distorting its results.

Two of the five articles are based on theories from the field of psychology. That is, the data obtained is confirmed not only from a practical point of view but also theoretically confirmed. In particular, Gang (2019) noted the importance of human self-determination in explaining the role of climate as a factor influencing student performance. Konold (2018) wrote that the authoritative school climate encourages students to achieve high results and increases their involvement in the process. In addition, the author noted how the influence of teachers could reduce aggression within the class and improve discipline (Konold et al., 2018). Students’ concentration depends on the level of discipline and calmness, and therefore it is understandable why these two factors affect students’ academic performance.

It also recognizes the need for leaders in the institution to create the right learning environment. The development of the institution of control over maintaining a comfortable psychological environment in schools can influence the observed process of a gradual deterioration in the quality of education (Pobbi, Kor & Opara, 2019). At the same time, researchers note the importance of perceiving the climate as a multidimensional phenomenon, the components of which are both relationships within one team and contacts of students from different classes with each other. It is teachers who are capable of influencing such communications between students in an educational institution (Konold et al., 2018). As people with power, they must intervene in the interpersonal relations of students if there is a need. However, such control over the observance of a positive climate should not be carried out in an authoritarian manner. Democratic principles must be respected, and a system for obtaining feedback from students themselves must form the basis of such interventions.

In general, research demonstrates how, along with other factors, climate can influence student performance. At the same time, it is noted that, with a friendly atmosphere in schools, the adaptive period for students decreases, their mastery of basic mathematical and writing skills is accelerated (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). The results of passed literacy tests are higher in school groups, in which there is a favorable climate. It is important to note that the discovered causal relationships are characteristic not only within the framework of one country – the United States (Dulay & Karadağ, 2017). There is no significant difference between cultures, so the findings and findings can be used internationally for further research in psychology.


Alonso-Tapia, J., Quijada, A., Ruiz, M., Ulate, M. A., & Biehl, M. L. (2020). A cross-cultural study of the validity of a battery of questionnaires for assessing school climate quality. Educational Psychology, 26, 109–119. Web.

Crowley, B. Z., Datta, P., Stohlman, S., Cornell, D., & Konold, T. (2019). Authoritative school climate and sexual harassment: A cross-sectional multilevel analysis of student self-reports. School Psychology, 34, 469–478. Web.

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Dulay, S., & Karadağ, E. (2017). The effect of school climate on student achievement. In E. Karadağ (Ed.), The factors effecting student achievement (pp. 199-213). Springer.

Gang, G. C. A., Han, C. G. K., & Bansa, L. A. (2019). Contribution of psychological factors on academic achievement of rural students in the interior school of Sabah Division. International Journal of Education, Psychology and Counseling, 4(27), 76-90. Web.

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Maxwell, S., Reynolds, K. J., Lee, E., Subasic, E., & Bromhead, D. (2017). The impact of school climate and school identification on academic achievement: Multilevel modeling with student and teacher data. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2069. Web.

Nadelson, L.S., Booher, L., Turley M. (2020). Leaders in the classroom: Using teaching as a context for measuring leader identity. Frontiers in Education, 5, 1-13. Web.

Pobbi, M., Kor, J.,& Opare, J. (2019). The impact of school climate on academic performance: A case of Ghanaian schools. Journal of Education and Practice, 9 (22). 83-93.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Effects of School Climate on Student Achievement." April 15, 2023.