Author

Lisa Lack

Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Timothy J. Runge

Second Advisor

Mark R. McGowan

Third Advisor

Shannon W. Phaneuf

Fourth Advisor

Mark J. Staszkiewicz

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the psychometric properties of the School Safety Survey (SSS). This study examined the factor structures of the SSS when looking at respondent (i.e., teachers, administrators, and parents / guardians), location (i.e., urban, suburban, rural, and town) and grade span (i.e., elementary and secondary). Archival and anonymous data from the 2013-2014 school year were examined. It was hypothesized that a two-factor structure would be present across respondents, locations, and grade spans. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that all items would load on the same factors across respondents, locations, and grade spans. First, results indicated that the SSS was found to be a reliable assessment of school safety, as the survey indicated a high level of internal consistency. Findings revealed a four-factor solution to the SSS, which did not support the hypothesis that only a two-factor structure would be present. When looking at respondent, there was a four-factor solution obtained from teachers’ data, a three-factor solution from administrators’ data, and a two-factor solution from parents’ / guardians’ data. Results further revealed that there were different factor structures across urban, suburban, rural, and town locations, with a four-, three-, four-, and four-factor solution obtained, respectively. Lastly, findings indicated that there were different factor structures between elementary and secondary grade spans, with a five- and two-factor solution obtained, respectively. For the majority of research questions, it was concluded that the SSS does not just measure two factors, but rather measures four unique dimensions of school safety, which appeared to be related to: destructive school community occurrences, constructive support services, a positive school climate, and adverse personal living conditions. Continued research is imperative to further examine school safety and for educators and practitioners to stay current to enhance school safety for all individuals. Further exploration with regard to the parent stakeholder group and elementary grade spans are encouraged due to the small sample size of parent respondents and the perplexity of the elementary grade span factor structure. Lastly, it is recommended for all of the EFA results to be validated by a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).

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