Relations between teacher perceptions of school climate and student disruptive behavior in middle schools in the United States Virgin Islands

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

James D. McKinney - Committee Chair


The purpose of this research was to investigate and identify relationships between indicators of school climate and student disruptive behavior. The goal was to assess teachers' perceptions of school climate in middle schools and to determine which school climate factors were most correlated with student disruptive behavior.Eighty public middle school teachers were sampled for the study; 40 in each of two schools of 1,010 and 590 students. Sixty-two teachers participated in the survey, an overall 77% response rate. The research questions included: (1) Do the two schools that participated in the study differ on teachers' perceptions of school climate and the extent of disruptive behavior? (2) What school climate scales, singularly and/or in combination, are related to teacher perceptions of student disruptive behavior? (3) What do teachers perceive to be the most severe problems in the school climate of their school?To allow for parametric statistical analysis for multiple regression and group comparative purposes, the nature of the covariance (inter-correlations) among the items in the instrument and the covariance structure of school climate items were determined and thereby determine whether items could be combined into separate scales. Based in part on factor analysis, and in part on the conceptual grouping of some items, items were combined to form the following final seven school climate scales that were used in subsequent analysis: Teacher Morale, Decision Making; Lack of Resources, Safe Orderly Environment, Student Expression, Systemic Problems, and Community Involvement. Results of this research indicated that: (1) the schools differed in Teacher Morale, Decision Making, Lack of Resources, and Safe Orderly Environment; (2) the only school climate scales that were significantly related to teacher perceptions of student disruptive behaviors were Safe Orderly Environment and Systemic Problems, and (3) the most severe school climate problems perceived by teachers were Systemic Problems and Safe Orderly Environment. The results were discussed in terms of the implications for improving certain aspects of school climate that were particularly problematic in the schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands that were studied.


Education, Sociology of; Education, Administration

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