Chronic absence is a significant problem in schools. School climate may play an important role in influencing chronic absence rates among schools, yet little research has evaluated how school climate constructs relate to chronic absence. Using multilevel latent profile analysis, we evaluated how profiles of student perceptions of school climate at both the student and school level differentiated school–level rates of chronic absence. Participants included 25,776 middle and high school students from 106 schools who completed a district administered school climate survey. Students attended schools in a large urban school district where 89% of 6th through 12th grade students were African-American and 61% were eligible for the federally subsidized school meals program. Three student–level profiles of perceptions of school climate emerged that corresponded to “positive,” “moderate,” and “negative” climate. Two predominant patterns regarding the distribution of these profiles within schools emerged that corresponded to the two school–level profiles of “marginal climate” and “climate challenged” schools. Students reporting “moderate” and “negative” climate in their schools were more likely to attend schools with higher chronic absence rates than students reporting that their school had “positive” climate. Likewise, “climate challenged” schools had significantly higher chronic absence rates than “marginal climate” schools. These results suggest that school climate shares an important relation with chronic absence among adolescent students attending urban schools. Implications for prevention and intervention programs are discussed.
- Chronic absence
- Multi–level latent class analysis
- School attendance
- School climate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology