Virginia Working Conditions and School Climate Surveys

  • Research Project

What We Do

This project was a researcher-practitioner partnership between the University of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and was funded by IES. This project supported VDOE’s efforts to systematically measure school climate and working conditions, provide targeted technical assistance to schools to improve their school climate and working conditions concerns, and incorporate school climate metrics into Virginia's school accountability system in order to help VDOE gain a better understanding of how school climate is related to student education outcomes.

Principle Investigator: Luke C. Miller

The researchers administered surveys in January-March 2019. The student survey was focused on school climate and was informed by the analysis of a pilot climate survey given in the 2016-17 school year and feedback from school divisions. While a school climate survey for teachers and staff was developed, the researchers replaced it with a working conditions survey that the Virginia General Assembly mandated in the 2018 Appropriations Act. 93% of schools participated in the teacher survey for a 67% response rate, 62% of elementary schools participated for an 84% response rate, and 67% of high schools participated for a 61% response rate. While 91% of schools participated in the staff survey, the researchers were unable to estimate a response rate as the size of the staff population was unknown. The researchers carried out four sets of analyses. The first examined the psychometric properties of the surveys’ measures of school climate and working conditions. The second examined variation in the measures of school climate and working conditions by school and by respondent characteristics. The third analysis explored the extent to which survey-derived measures of school climate surveys might provide different signals on school climate than the current test-based measures. Finally, the researchers assessed the association of school climate with high school students’ progression through science and mathematics pipelines.

Project Team

Luke C Miller

Luke C. Miller

  • Research Associate Professor