Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Stan Olsen


The purpose of this field research study was to describe the differences in perceptions of school climate , as measured on the 10 subscales of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP, 1987) School Climate Survey, for at - risk students as compared to students not classified as at - risk. The population of this study was 6,250 students from three Michigan public high schools, urban (U ), suburban (S ), and rural (R ). In each school two subgroups were identified with 30 in each subgroup. Random sampling procedures were used to identify 30 at-risk and 30 not-at-risk students in each school.

Three major research hypotheses were tested using two-way analysis of variance. In S, R, and U schools there was a significant difference in at-risk and not-at-risk students in 9 of 10 climate subscale areas and a significant difference between at-risk student climate scores and national normative student scores. The at-risk group in U school differs significantly from the at-risk groups in R and S schools. This possible difference in U needs to be explored further to be certain that appropriate plans are made for serving the needs of at-risk students in urban settings.

The relationship between climate and achievement suggests potentially important policy concerns for educators concerned with at-risk learning and student retention.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access