Linking classroom environment with educational outcomes using a Rasch measurement model

Year: 2002

Author: Waugh, Russell, Cavanagh, Robert

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Background: There are many studies relating the classroom environment to student outcomes as part of the pursuit of what makes an effective school. An eight-factor model involving Classroom Learning, Classroom Support, Student Discussion, Student Planning, student views of Teacher's Decision-Making, Teacher's Caring, Teacher's Expectations, and Parental Attitudes with student self-reported Educational Values and Formal Learning Outcomes has been proposed, but has never been investigated by measuring all these factors on the same scale.

Aim: This study aimed to create an interval-level, unidimensional scale of student self-reported Classroom Environment, based on the hypothesised classroom model involving eight-factors, with two-factor classroom outcomes. It aimed to calibrate item difficulties and student self-reported Classroom Environment measures on the same scale.

Sample: The person sample was 521 students from two secondary schools in Western Australia and the item sample was 66.

Method: Items were written in Guttman patterns for each factor, in line with a conceptualised measurement model. Data were analysed with a Rasch Unidimensional Measurement Model computer program (Andrich, Sheridan, Lyne & Luo, 2000).

Results: The proportion of observed variance considered true was 0.96 (Cronbach Alpha was 0.96). The eight Classroom Environment factors were found to be linked to the two student outcome factors. Nearly all items for each factor were found to be ordered from 'easy' to 'hard' in line with the hypothesised model.

Conclusion: The Rasch model was very useful in creating a scale of classroom factors and student outcomes in which student measures and item difficulties are calibrated on the same scale. The Classroom Environment is linked to student outcomes.