Identifying Adaptive Classrooms

Indicators of Positive Development Conference
March 12-13, 2003
Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference Center
Washington, DC


Identifying Adaptive Classrooms:  Analyses of Measures of Dimensions of the Classroom Social Environment
Helen Patrick, Purdue University and Allison M. Ryan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This paper addresses measures of the classroom social environment, or students’ perceptions about how they are encouraged to interact with and relate to others. The classroom social environment is an important educational context that is related to a wide range of adaptive student learning-related beliefs and behaviors. We focus on four separate dimensions of the classroom social environment: (1) teacher support, (2) promoting mutual respect, (3) promoting student task-related interaction, and (4) promoting performance goals. We present evidence from three separate samples (two of them longitudinal) showing that measures of these four dimensions are psychometrically sound when used with students from fifth through eighth grades. Specifically, we show that the scales are consistently internally reliable, and we present a range of evidence indicating construct validity.