Using School Climate to Improve Attendance and Grades: Understanding the Importance of School Satisfaction Among Middle and High School Students

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BACKGROUND: Students with chronic absences tend to struggle academically and may not benefit fully from all school has to offer. A positive school climate has been shown to reduce absenteeism and promote academic success. In this study, we explored how a positive school climate and high satisfaction with school may influence absences and academic performance.

METHODS: We used mediated path analysis to describe relationships involving school climate, school satisfaction, absences, and grades among 6839 middle school (49% female, 82% white) and 7470 high school (51% female, 85.0% white) students from 26 West Virginia schools.

RESULTS: In the middle and high school samples, we found that a positive school climate and high satisfaction with school reduces school absenteeism. Findings also suggest students with more absences tend to perform less well academically; a positive school climate and school satisfaction may promote good grades.

CONCLUSIONS: Missing a substantial amount of school days for any reason may hinder students academic success, but ‘‘skipping’’ may require added attention. Improving school climate and student satisfaction with school may contribute to better attendance and grades.