20 SES 02 JS, Assessing Intercultural Learning Environments
Joint Paper Session NW 09 and NW 20
Currently, Europe is populated by a total of 35.1 million of immigrants (per the last statistical report of the European Commission Eurostat in March 2017), mostly due to the named “European migrant crisis”. This pluralism, so characteristic of our contemporary society, is very present in our schools. The challenge that we face is to create a collective identity and to educate from the the vantage point of interculturality.
Students from other countries who come to our classrooms do so with numerous learning and adaptation difficulties, derived from aspects related to language, change of society and culture, marginalization… If we accept that there is a close relationship between school climate and learning achievements, we must agree that, working on this aspect in the intercultural classrooms will improve the results in learning and integration of these students.
School climate is a broad concept and it has a great number of antecedents and definitions, which have led to some inaccuracy of the term. This concept has experienced a long journey before its current meaning, which still lacks consensus. However, all authors agree on the relevance of school climate in learning and its influence on students’ social and personal development. It´s widely demonstrated that the quality of the school climate contributes to academic outcomes as well as to the personal development and well-being of pupils (Haahr, Nielsen, Hansen, & Jakobsen, 2005; OECD, 2009). Therefore, it would be very important to improve this construct in intercultural classrooms. For Bryck et al (2010), studies about school efficacy and improvement reflect that this variable is of great relevance to promote learning in every context.
There are several instruments to evaluate school climate in a centre or a classroom. We must highlight the Classroom Environment Scale (CES) of Moos and Tricket (1974), whose objective is to evaluate teacher-student and student-student relationships, and the organization of a classroom; or the Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire (OCDQ) of Halpin y Croft (1963), which evaluates the school climate of secondary schools. But after analysing them, we can see that these instruments were developed before the 70s and are focused on adults. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to develop an instrument that evaluates the climate of a class group, intended for students of Primary Education, and first years of Secondary Education (from 8 to 14 years old). To develop the instrument, we have used the evidence available on the construct definition and dimensions, and on the factors relevant in evaluating school climate.
This research is the first of three empirical studies comprised in a larger project that aims to create and implement, in intercultural classrooms, a series of strategies to improve school climate. This first study is focused on the design and development of the instrument to evaluate the school climate that we present here.
A quantitative focus was used to develop a questionnaire evaluating the school climate construct in students from 8 to 14 years old. First, the steps to generate an instrument were established based on three sources. The proposed phases from Rosario Martínez (2005) were first used as reference, as well as the recommendations and the process included in the Handbook of Recommended Practices for Questionnaire Development and Testing in the European Statistical System (European Commission Grant Agreement, 2004). Then, the criteria set in the article Un modelo para evaluar la calidad de los tests utilizados en España from the Salamanca and Oviedo Universities (Prieto y Muñiz, 2000) were also considered. This process developed according to the 4 samples used, is detailed below. First, a preliminary version of the questionnaire was completed and evaluated by a first sample of 12 experts, with an initial structure of 48 items, organized in the following dimensions: social, academic, environmental, affective-emotional and social desirability. In the second pilot sample the construct validity was obtained by a factorial analysis, which allowed to create the empirical structure of the instrument. The following sample was used to evaluate the reliability of every dimension through an internal consistency analysis per the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. For the last two sample selections, a non-probabilistic sampling was used, besides following the established recommendations from Gorsuch (1983) and Stevens (1992), which determined that the adequate sample size for the realization of a factorial analysis is 5 subjects for every item. The selected subjects were 8- to 14-year-old students from different schools. The last step consisted in a process to prove characterization. For this, a broad and diverse sample was selected using a stratified probabilistic method, in several centres throughout Spain.
In summary, the results confirmed the established theoretical structure. Once the evaluation with experts and the confirmatory factor analysis was carried out, the number, the wording, and the distribution of the items in the different dimensions were modified, creating the empirical structure of the instrument. Moreover, a high internal consistency was achieved in every dimension through the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The data obtained confirm an adequate test that measures precisely every dimensión. This project will progress with a second empirical study that intends to carry out an analysis of current situation with respect to school climate in intercultural classrooms.
Avant, T., Gazelle, H. & Faldowsky, R. (2011). Classroom emotional climate as a moderator of anxious solitary children's longitudinal risk for peer exclusion: a child environment model. Developmental Psychology, 47 (6), 1711-1727. Bryck, A., Bender Sebring, P., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J. (2010). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago, IL.: University Of Chicago Press. Gorsuch, R.L. (1983). Factor Analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Grupo Editorial Hogrefe. Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://eu.hogrefe.com. European Commission, Eurostat. (2017). Migration and migrant population statistics. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Migration_and_migrant_population_statistics European Commission. (2006). Handbook of Recommended Practices for Questionnaire Development and Testing in the European Statistical System. (European Commission Grant Agreement 200410300002) Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://www.istat.it/it/files/2013/12/Handbook_questionnaire_development_2006.pdf Haahr, J.H., Nielsen, T.K., Hansen, M.E, & Jakobsen, S. T. (2005). Explaining student performance. Evidence from the international PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS surveys. Denmark: Danish Technological Institute. Halpin, A. W., & Croft, D. B. (1963). The Organizational Climate of Schools. Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://www.donpugh.com/Education/questionnaires/THE%20ORGANIZATIONAL%20CLIMATE%20OF%20SCHOOLS.pdf Martínez, R. (2005). Psicometría: Teoría de los Tests Psicológicos y Educativos. Madrid: Editorial Síntesis. Moos, R. H. & Trickett, E.J. (1974). Classroom Environment Scale Manual. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press. National School Climate (2007). What is School Climate? Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://www.schoolclimate.org/about/our-approach OECD (2009). Creating effective teaching and learning environment: First results of Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). OECD. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from https://www.oecd.org/edu/school/43023606.pdf Prieto, G. & Muñiz, J. (2000). Un modelo para evaluar la calidad de los tests utilizados en España. Papeles del Psicólogo, (77), 65-75. Stevens, J. (1992). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Guffey, S., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2013). A review of school climate research. Review of Educational Research, 83 (3), 357-385. Thomas, D. E., Bierman, K. L., & Powers, C. J. (2011). The influence of classroom aggression and classroom climate on aggressive–disruptive behaviour. Child development, 82(3), 751-757. TEA Ediciones. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from http://web.teaediciones.com/Inicio.aspx. Wang, M. & Degol, J. (2016). A Review of the Construct, Measurement, and Impact on Student Outcomes. Educational Psychology Review, 28(2), 31.
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