Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to trace a 40‐year research journey to identify organizational properties that foster the achievement of all students, regardless of socio‐economic status (SES). Design/methodology/approach – The author describes a search for school properties that have an impact on the cognitive and social‐emotional development of faculty and students, with special emphasis on academic achievement. Findings – Three characteristics of schools were identified that make a positive difference for student achievement controlling for the SES: collective efficacy, collective trust in parents and students, and academic emphasis of the school. Further these three measures are elements of a latent construct, academic emphasis of school, which is a powerful predictor of student achievement regardless of SES. Originality/value – The paper identifies school variables that are often as important, or more important, than SES in explaining academic achievement, and a new model is created to explain how academic optimism influences student achievement.
Journal of Educational Administration – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 27, 2012
Keywords: Schools; Organizational culture; Students; Trust; Educational development; Self development; Efficacy; Academic emphasis; Academic optimism; Academic achievement
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