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School Culture, Climate, and Violence: Safety in Middle Schools of the Philadelphia Public School System, 1990-1994 (ICPSR 2026) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was designed to explore school culture and climate and their effects on school disorder, violence, and academic performance on two levels. At the macro level of analysis, this research examined the influences of sociocultural, crime, and school characteristics on aggregate-level school violence and academic performance measures. Here the focus was on understanding community, family, and crime compositional effects on disruption and violence in Philadelphia schools. This level included Census data and crime rates for the Census tracts where the schools were located (local data), as well as for the community of residence of the students (imported data) for all 255 schools within the Philadelphia School District. The second level of analysis, the intermediate level, included all of the variables measured at the macro level, and added school organizational structure and school climate, measured with survey data, as mediating variables. Part 1, Macro-Level Data, contains arrest and offense data and Census characteristics, such as race, poverty level, and household income, for the Census tracts where each of the 255 Philadelphia schools is located and for the Census tracts where the students who attend those schools reside. In addition, this file contains school characteristics, such as number and race of students and teachers, student attendance, average exam scores, and number of suspensions for various reasons. For Part 2, Principal Interview Data, principals from all 42 middle schools in Philadelphia were interviewed on the number of buildings and classrooms in their school, square footage and special features of the school, and security measures. For Part 3, teachers were administered the Effective School Battery survey and asked about their job satisfaction, training opportunities, relationships with principals and parents, participation in school activities, safety measures, and fear of crime at school. In Part 4, students were administered the Effective School Battery survey and asked about their attachment to school, extracurricular activities, attitudes toward teachers and school, academic achievement, and fear of crime at school. Part 5, Student Victimization Data, asked the same students from Part 4 about their victimization experiences, the availability of drugs, and discipline measures at school. It also provides self-reports of theft, assault, drug use, gang membership, and weapon possession at school.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access.

    A downloadable version of data for this study is available however, certain identifying information in the downloadable version may have been masked or edited to protect respondent privacy. Additional data not included in the downloadable version are available in a restricted version of this data collection. For more information about the differences between the downloadable data and the restricted data for this study, please refer to the codebook notes section of the PDF codebook. Users interested in obtaining restricted data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Macro-Level Data - Download All Files (1.1 MB)
Data:
DS2:  Principal Interview Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
DS3:  Effective School Battery Teacher Survey - Download All Files (2.4 MB)
DS4:  Effective School Battery Student Survey - Download All Files (22.2 MB)
DS5:  Student Victimization Data - Download All Files (10.5 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Welsh, Wayne N.,, Patricia H. Jenkins, and Jack R. Greene. School Culture, Climate, and Violence: Safety in Middle Schools of the Philadelphia Public School System, 1990-1994. ICPSR02026-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02026.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-0038)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   academic achievement, communities, crime in schools, crime rates, cultural influences, families, fear of crime, middle schools, school principals, school security, school violence, schools

Geographic Coverage:   Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1990
  • 1992--1994

Date of Collection:  

  • 1993--1994

Unit of Observation:   Schools and individuals.

Universe:   Part 1: All schools in the Philadelphia School District. Parts 2-5: All middle schools in the Philadelphia School District.

Data Types:   administrative records data, census/enumeration data, survey data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study was designed to explore school culture and climate and their effects on school disorder, violence, and academic performance on two levels. At the macro level of analysis, this research examined the influences of sociocultural, crime, and school characteristics on aggregate-level school violence and academic performance measures. Here the focus was on understanding community, family, and crime compositional effects on disruption and violence in Philadelphia schools. The macro-level analysis was designed to explore the relationship between the level of disorder within inner-city schools and the nature of the communities in which they are embedded. The second level of analysis, the intermediate level, included all of the variables measured at the macro level, and added school organizational structure and school climate as mediating variables. School climate, which was measured by items such as educational expectations, social integration, attachment to school, and school involvement, was hypothesized to be the primary mediating variable and the major influence of school outcomes. Organizational dimensions, such as school staffing, size, and resources, were believed to set limits on school culture.

Study Design:   At the macro level, all 255 schools within the School District of Philadelphia were examined using data from three sources: (1) Philadelphia Police Department, (2) community and social structural data contained in the 1990 Census, and (3) school characteristics provided by the Philadelphia School District. The data provide Census information and crime rates for the immediate community in which the schools are located (local data), as well as the community of residence of the students (imported data). At the intermediate level, survey data were used to measure school climate and organizational structure. Principals from all 42 Philadelphia middle schools were interviewed regarding their schools' structural composition and security measures. In addition, teachers and students from 11 of these 42 middle schools were surveyed regarding their attitudes toward their schools, school culture, school disorder, victimization incidents, and fear of crime at school.

Sample:   Part 1, Macro-Level Data, is a census of all schools in the Philadelphia School District. Part 2, Principal Interview Data, was conducted in all 42 middle schools in the Philadelphia School District. Eleven of these 42 middle schools were selected for Parts 3-5 based on three criteria: (1) level of disruption, (2) level of poverty, and (3) regional representation. An effort was made to include schools that covered the broadest range of each of these criteria.

Data Source:

(1) Philadelphia Police Department, (2) 1990 Census, (3) Philadelphia School District administrative records, (4) personal interviews, (5) self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Part 1, Macro-Level Data, contains arrest and offense data and Census characteristics, such as race, poverty level, and household income, for the Census tracts where each of the 255 Philadelphia schools is located and for the Census tracts where the students who attend those schools reside. In addition, this file contains school characteristics, such as number and race of students and teachers, student attendance, average exam scores, and number of suspensions for various reasons. For Part 2, Principal Interview Data, principals from all 42 middle schools in Philadelphia were interviewed on the number of buildings and classrooms in their school, square footage and special features of the school, and security measures. For Part 3, teachers were administered the Effective School Battery survey and asked about their job satisfaction, training opportunities, relationships with principals and parents, participation in school activities, safety measures, and fear of crime at school. In Part 4, students were administered the Effective School Battery survey and asked about their attachment to school, extracurricular activities, attitudes toward teachers and school, academic achievement, and fear of crime at school. Part 5, Student Victimization Data, asked the same students from Part 4 about their victimization experiences, the availability of drugs, and discipline measures at school. It also provides self-reports of theft, assault, drug use, gang membership, and weapon possession at school.

Response Rates:   The response rates were 81 percent for Part 2, 66.44 percent for Part 3, and 65.44 percent for Parts 4 and 5.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2026.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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