Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Climate Connected to Assessment in Secondary Education

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Climate Connected to Assessment in Secondary Education

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the concept of school climate and develops a theoretical framework for a new concept - school climate connected to assessment - and its assigned instrument - QSCCA (Questionnaire of School Climate Connected to Assessment). Firstly, we describe the concept of organizational school climate and several instruments used to assess it. Secondly, we develop a framework, analyze a new concept of school climate connected to assessment and present our instrument. Finally, we focus the analysis and discussion on the results obtained with the help of QSCCA and other psychological instruments. Psychometric properties of QSCCA were assessed in different high schools. Our results may be used to measure and improve the quality of school life and learning.

KEYWORDS: school climate, assessment, microviolence, psychometric qualities.

Schools have certain particularities which make them fundamentally different from other organizations: youth and adults work together, but although the young are in a majority, the adults hold the power in terms of knowledge, organization, assessment, and decision (Mialaret, 1991). The young are given daily assessments from significant persons - their teachers and their mates (Jorro, 2000) and carry out compulsory activities in certain groups, being a "captive public" especially in compulsory education.

Organizational school climate

The complex concept of school climate is subordinated to the concept of organizational climate which has been used in a vague way and with numerous definitions. In accordance with an older meaning, climate is a measure of some objective and relatively stable attributes which differentiate organizations ones from others and which influence their members' behaviors: the size, physical environment, hierarchic levels, objectives, management styles, all these being in connection with productivity/ effectiveness or absenteeism (Forehand & Gilmer, 1964, as cited in Brunet, 1983). The most frequent criticism of the definition arises from removing the problem of perception which is essential in the social background (Lewin, 1947) and from the fact that the enumerated characteristics influence the behavior of individuals in society only indirectly. The newer meaning of climate is that of a measure of perceptions organization members have towards organizational attributes, influenced by the members' behaviors with a high status. It is a base for interpreting situations and guides activities in organizations. (Brunet, 1983). This definition respects the theory according to which the individuals' behavior results from personality interacting with environment, conciliating the group/organizational factors and the members' personal characteristics (Lewin, 1947).

The first works that approach the school climate define it as "personality" of school, environment, the ethos and school ambience being placed on a continuum between open / welcoming to hostile / closed (Moos & Trickett, 1974; Halpin & Croft, 1963, as cited in Hoy & Sweetland, 2001). The school climate may also be seen as a health state of the organization (Freiberg, 1999), as a system of shared norms and expectations (Brookover, Beady, Flood, Schweittzer, & Wisenbaker, 1979) or as a psychosocial background in which the teachers work (Janosz, Thiébaud, Bouthillier, & Brunet, 2005; Fisher & Fraser, 1990, as cited in Johnson & Stevens, 2006). In other studies, the school climate results from the collective perceptions on the behavior in school, as students' perception on the personality of school (Janosz, Georges, & Parent, 1998; Johnson, Johnson, & Zimmerman, 1996) or the teachers' perception (Halpin & Crofts, 1963) or the perception of both categories (Gotfredson & Gotfredson, 1985; Janosz et al., 1998). The school climate is in close connection with values, feelings and attitudes, being a measure for the educative mission of school, for each involved actor's respect (Janosz et al. …

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