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Acta Psychologica Sinica
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The role of collective perception of school psychological environment in grades 4~6 students’ academic achievement
ZHOU Cuimin1; TAO Sha1; LIU Hongyun2; WANG Cuicui1; QI Xue1; DONG Qi1,3;The Project Team of National Children’s Study of China
(1 State Key Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
(2 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
(3 National Innovation Center for Assessment of Basic Education Quality, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
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Abstract  
School psychological environment (i.e., school climate) has been well documented as an important predictor for student academic achievement and social-emotional adjustment. Most previous studies examined the roles of school psychological environment at individual student level, and there is a paucity of research on the roles of the school-level psychological environment. As a vital context for student learning and development, the school-level psychological environment may contribute to students’ academic achievement uniquely beyond individual student’s perception and constitute a unique indicator for school effectiveness. This study aimed to examine the unique roles of students’ collective perception of school psychological environment beyond individual student’s perception in elementary school students’ academic achievement, motivation and attitude. Moreover, this study extended the investigation on the protecting effects of school psychological environment from attenuating the gaps between family background to the gaps between school characteristics (i.e., location, teacher quality and student collective socio-economic status).
Based on the national representative data from the National Children’s Study of China, the collective perception of school psychological environment was measured on school safety and discipline, acceptance and support, equality and fairness, autonomy and cooperation among 12023 4th – 6th graders from 421 elementary schools, 100 counties across the 31 provinces. Other 10826 students from the same grades in the same schools completed a questionnaire about their perception of school psychological environment. Their academic achievement was measured by a questionnaire on academic motivation and attitude, as well as by the standardized tests on reading and mathematics.
Multi-level modeling showed that: (a) There were considerable variances between schools on student’s academic test scores (33.3%), motivation and attitude (10.0%) in grades 4~6. (b) The collective perception of psychological environment at school level significantly accounted for unique parts of variances of both academic test scores and motivation and attitude even controlling for students’ grade, gender, family background, school location, school teacher education level, school collective socioeconomic status and students’ perception of school psychological environment at individual level. The collective perception of school psychological environment accounted for much more variances of academic test scores than academic motivation and attitude. (c) The roles of students’ collective perception of school psychological environment in students’ academic achievement, motivation and attitude were partially mediated by individual student’s perception of school psychological environment (16.7%, and 54.2% respectively). (d) The collective perception of school psychological environment significantly attenuated the gaps in academic motivation and attitude from school teachers’ education level and school collective family income level, and the gaps in academic test scores from school location, school teachers’ education level and school collective family education level.

In conclusion, the collective perception of school psychological environment played important and direct roles in students’ academic achievement, especially for students from more disadvantaged schools. Findings from this study suggested that the collective perception of school psychological environment is an important indicator for assessing basic education quality.

Keywords collective perception of school psychological environment      elementary school students      academic achievement      multilevel analysis     
Corresponding Authors: TAO Sha, E-mail: taosha@bnu.edu.cn   
Issue Date: 25 February 2016
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ZHOU Cuimin
TAO Sha
LIU Hongyun
WANG Cuicui
QI Xue
DONG Qi
The Project Team of National Children’s Study of China
Cite this article:   
ZHOU Cuimin,TAO Sha,LIU Hongyun, et al. The role of collective perception of school psychological environment in grades 4~6 students’ academic achievement[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00185
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00185     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2016/V48/I2/185
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