As defined by the authors of a recent study on the subject, a school’s climate consists in the pattern of experiences lived by its constituents and shaped by such factors as:
In their study, the researchers set out to test the hypothesis that an “authoritative” school climate has a positive influence on student behavior, notably resulting in fewer out-of-school suspensions.
In their view, a school climate can be characterized using Baumrind’s famous “parenting styles” typology, which defines educative approaches according to 2 dimensions:
In this view, an “authoritative” climate is defined as both highly demanding and responsive. Authoritative parenting having been shown to foster academic achievement and prevent undesirable behaviors, it stands to reason that a comparable school climate would yield similar benefits.
For their study, the psychologists surveyed over 75,000 6th to 8th Graders (in the US), asking them questions related to:
As expected, an authoritative school climate was found to be negatively associated with behavioral problems, a one standard deviation increase in this measure decreasing suspension odds by 12%.
Reference: Huang and Coornell, 2018, “The Relationship of School Climate and Out-of-School Suspensions”, Children and Youth Services Review, 94(C), pp. 378-389