The personalization of the school environment: The relationship of students' access to support from an adult with student adjustment outcomes and experiences of school climate
Although personalizing the school environment is increasingly at the center of many calls for school reform, there has been little empirical data actually provided to substantiate claims that having an adult in the school who knows a child well-often the operational definition for such personalized communities-are actually associated with or have a positive impact on students' views of their schooling, their own feelings of self-worth and adjustment, and academic performance. The current study sought to examine the critical role an adult in the school can have in providing such instrumental and affective support.
Data were collected from 27,604 middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in a northeastern state. Findings showed that adult support for academic concerns was perceived by more students than was support for personal or family issues. Economically disadvantaged students and/or students from ethic and racial minority backgrounds reported lower levels of support for academic problems. Nearly one-third of the students reported that there was no adult in the building that they could go to for any type of support or assistance.
Other findings indicated that students who perceived that they had high levels of support from an adult in the school had more positive views on the study's 21 dependent variables, including measures of school climate, learning experiences, and personal adjustment, than students with low levels of adult support. Students who reported not having an adult they could go to for academic or personal/family problems tended to see school in ways that were more negative. Students with low adult support (either academic or personal) had lower mean scores on these dependent measures than classmates in the same grade who felt that they had high support. Analysis of MANOVA found that significant relationships existed between several measures of academic performance and students' perceptions of adult support.
The final hypothesis focused on associations between school-level characteristics and students' experiences of the availability of support from an adult in the building. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed, as well as recommendations for further research.
EDUCATION, GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING (0519); EDUCATION, SECONDARY (0533); EDUCATION, EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY (0525)
Arthur William Lisi,
"The personalization of the school environment: The relationship of students' access to support from an adult with student adjustment outcomes and experiences of school climate"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).