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(1) Background: Adolescents spend a considerable amount of their time in the school environment. Most adolescents are also subjected to compulsory school attendance, implying that they have to deal with the environment on a daily basis. In that sense the school environment is inescapable. There are several different measures on student experiences of the school environment, but School Climate is one of the most prominent. However, there seems to be no agreement upon definition and operationalization of the School Climate concept. Also, it is uncommon to find descriptions of robust psychometric analyses of School Climate measures.
(2) Aims: The purpose of the present study is to examine the psychometric properties of a scale of Adolescent Perceptions of School Climate by means of the Rasch model for ordered response categories.
(3) Sample: Using a paper-and-pencil based survey, the data was collected among 758 students enrolled (school year 3-7) in schools located in central Perth of Western Australia in 2013.
(4) Methods: A scale consisting of seven polytomous items is analysed by means of the polytomous Rasch model. General fit statistics as well as their graphical representations (ICC) are used to evaluate if the data fit the Rasch model. A particular focus is also directed towards possible Differential Item Functioning (DIF) across sex and grade.
(5) Results: At a general level of analysis the scale seems to fit the Rasch model fairly well, with good separation of the individuals. Some items showed reversed item thresholds, i.e. the response categories did not work properly and as expected. Also, at a finer level of analysis focusing on DIF, the scale works fairly well, but with exceptions important in order to understand differences between younger and older adolescents.
(6) Conclusions: Although the scale fits the Rasch model fairly well, there is room for improvements. In particular the precision of measurement may be increased by improving the targeting through inclusion of additional items of appropriate severity.
As there seems to be a lack of instruments useful for invariant measurement of School Climate across age groups and genders, efforts to develop instruments are required.
Fukuoka, Japan, 2015.
The Pacific Rim Objective Measurement Symposium (PROMS)2015, August 20-24, Fukuoka, Japan