Exploring school climate and Indonesian Year 8 students’ mathematics learning outcomes
: a mixed method study

  • Tarmidi H D Dadeh

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The present study aims to explore the extent that school and classroom climate are related to students' learning outcomes in mathematics. The study incorporates both academic and non-academic achievements in Indonesia. By using a mixed-method approach, the study also seeks explanations for the observed differences in school climate between schools, based on the schools' academic performance and types of school (religious vs non-religious schools).
In the first phase, the author used a quantitative approach to examine the relationship between school and classroom climate with student mathematics assessment outcomes. The Indonesian TIMSS 2011 data of 5795 students, nested within 174 classrooms, and nested within 153 schools were analysed using three-level multilevel models (student, classroom, school). The results showed two school and classroom climate factors that had a significant positive effect on academic achievement, after controlling for student, teacher, and school characteristics: (1) student engagement in math lesson; and (2) school discipline. However, student safety had a significant negative relationship with academic achievement. On the other hand, equivalent analyses using student mathematics self-belief outcomes suggested five school climate factors of academic achievement: (1) student engagement with their school, (2) teacher safety, (3) teacher confidence in teaching math, (4) school physical resources, and (5) student safety. The other two factors that harmed academic achievement were: (1) teacher to teacher interaction, and (2) student engagement in mathematical lessons. However, these findings are tentative considering that the overall goodness of fit of the models was relatively weak (13-26 percent).
In the second phase, the author employed a qualitative approach to examine whether the profile of the schools and classroom climate varied in schools that differed in terms of student academic performance and religious type. Four secondary schools were selected as illustrative cases. One high and one low academic performing school for each the general (non-religious school) and madrasah (religious school) were selected. Focus group interviews were conducted to four students and teachers. Individual interviews were conducted to respectively four headteachers and policymakers. The data was analysed using an analytical framework drawn from the literature. The study identified similarities and differences in school climate factors across the four sampled schools.
The study highlights the value of using the effectiveness evaluation dimensions of the Dynamic Model of Educational Effectiveness (DMEE) proposed by Creemers and Kyriakides (2008) (frequency, focus, stage, quality, and differentiation) in exploring and evaluating school climate. By using the effectiveness evaluation dimensions, a richer explanation about the differences between school climates of the high and low performing schools was obtained. The qualitative analysis also supports the findings in phase one, particularly those differences in school climate between the high and low performing schools. The results also expanded the framework by including two emerging factors: education orientation and culture.
Although the findings are tentative and exploratory, the research is original in particular. The study analyses and reports the relationship between school climate factors and broader student learning outcomes. The study also adopts a newly developed school effectiveness conceptual framework for Indonesia and other similar contexts. The study thus contributes to the international school effectiveness knowledge base.

Date of Award23 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SponsorsDirektorat Jenderal Pendidikan Tinggi Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia
SupervisorSally M Thomas (Supervisor) & Guoxing Yu (Supervisor)


  • school effectiveness
  • mixed-methods
  • school climate
  • math achievement
  • self-beliefs
  • Multilevel Modelling
  • Indonesia

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