The stability of elementary school contexts from kindergarten to third grade

Amy E. Lowenstein, Sharon Wolf, Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Holly R. Sexton, C. Cybele Raver, J. Lawrence Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The nature and measurement of school contexts have been the foci of interest in community, developmental, and school psychology for decades. In this paper, we tested the stability of six elementary school-context factors over time, using a nationally representative and longitudinal sample of schools from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), and systems theories as a conceptual framework. Confirmatory factor analyses and tests of measurement equivalence revealed that six latent factors fit the data equally well across kindergarten, first grade, and third grade: school strain, school safety practices, school academic performance, school instructional resources, positive school climate, and school violence and crime. The factors were highly stable across the early elementary school years, with standardized stability coefficients ranging from .87 to .99 between kindergarten and first grade and from .71 to .98 between the first and third grades. Equivalence in the two sets of stability coefficients was also found across time. Both the magnitude and equivalence of the stability coefficients were robust to the inclusion of five key exogenous school characteristics as covariates in the model. Results suggest that elementary school contexts are remarkably stable over time and shed light on methodological considerations regarding the treatment of school-level measures in analyses that examine links between school context and children's academic and developmental trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Fingerprint

kindergarten
elementary school
school grade
school
equivalence
school climate
system theory
Systems Theory
longitudinal study
psychology
childhood
inclusion
offense
Crime
violence
Climate
Violence
Statistical Factor Analysis
Longitudinal Studies

Keywords

  • ECLS-K
  • Elementary school context
  • Measurement equivalence
  • Multidimensional model
  • Stability
  • Systems theories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education

Cite this

The stability of elementary school contexts from kindergarten to third grade. / Lowenstein, Amy E.; Wolf, Sharon; Gershoff, Elizabeth T.; Sexton, Holly R.; Raver, C. Cybele; Aber, J. Lawrence.

In: Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 53, No. 4, 01.08.2015, p. 323-335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lowenstein, Amy E. ; Wolf, Sharon ; Gershoff, Elizabeth T. ; Sexton, Holly R. ; Raver, C. Cybele ; Aber, J. Lawrence. / The stability of elementary school contexts from kindergarten to third grade. In: Journal of School Psychology. 2015 ; Vol. 53, No. 4. pp. 323-335.
@article{81e00cff9551408eb68fa9144e5e6113,
title = "The stability of elementary school contexts from kindergarten to third grade",
abstract = "The nature and measurement of school contexts have been the foci of interest in community, developmental, and school psychology for decades. In this paper, we tested the stability of six elementary school-context factors over time, using a nationally representative and longitudinal sample of schools from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), and systems theories as a conceptual framework. Confirmatory factor analyses and tests of measurement equivalence revealed that six latent factors fit the data equally well across kindergarten, first grade, and third grade: school strain, school safety practices, school academic performance, school instructional resources, positive school climate, and school violence and crime. The factors were highly stable across the early elementary school years, with standardized stability coefficients ranging from .87 to .99 between kindergarten and first grade and from .71 to .98 between the first and third grades. Equivalence in the two sets of stability coefficients was also found across time. Both the magnitude and equivalence of the stability coefficients were robust to the inclusion of five key exogenous school characteristics as covariates in the model. Results suggest that elementary school contexts are remarkably stable over time and shed light on methodological considerations regarding the treatment of school-level measures in analyses that examine links between school context and children's academic and developmental trajectories.",
keywords = "ECLS-K, Elementary school context, Measurement equivalence, Multidimensional model, Stability, Systems theories",
author = "Lowenstein, {Amy E.} and Sharon Wolf and Gershoff, {Elizabeth T.} and Sexton, {Holly R.} and Raver, {C. Cybele} and Aber, {J. Lawrence}",
year = "2015",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jsp.2015.05.002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "53",
pages = "323--335",
journal = "Journal of School Psychology",
issn = "0022-4405",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The stability of elementary school contexts from kindergarten to third grade

AU - Lowenstein, Amy E.

AU - Wolf, Sharon

AU - Gershoff, Elizabeth T.

AU - Sexton, Holly R.

AU - Raver, C. Cybele

AU - Aber, J. Lawrence

PY - 2015/8/1

Y1 - 2015/8/1

N2 - The nature and measurement of school contexts have been the foci of interest in community, developmental, and school psychology for decades. In this paper, we tested the stability of six elementary school-context factors over time, using a nationally representative and longitudinal sample of schools from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), and systems theories as a conceptual framework. Confirmatory factor analyses and tests of measurement equivalence revealed that six latent factors fit the data equally well across kindergarten, first grade, and third grade: school strain, school safety practices, school academic performance, school instructional resources, positive school climate, and school violence and crime. The factors were highly stable across the early elementary school years, with standardized stability coefficients ranging from .87 to .99 between kindergarten and first grade and from .71 to .98 between the first and third grades. Equivalence in the two sets of stability coefficients was also found across time. Both the magnitude and equivalence of the stability coefficients were robust to the inclusion of five key exogenous school characteristics as covariates in the model. Results suggest that elementary school contexts are remarkably stable over time and shed light on methodological considerations regarding the treatment of school-level measures in analyses that examine links between school context and children's academic and developmental trajectories.

AB - The nature and measurement of school contexts have been the foci of interest in community, developmental, and school psychology for decades. In this paper, we tested the stability of six elementary school-context factors over time, using a nationally representative and longitudinal sample of schools from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), and systems theories as a conceptual framework. Confirmatory factor analyses and tests of measurement equivalence revealed that six latent factors fit the data equally well across kindergarten, first grade, and third grade: school strain, school safety practices, school academic performance, school instructional resources, positive school climate, and school violence and crime. The factors were highly stable across the early elementary school years, with standardized stability coefficients ranging from .87 to .99 between kindergarten and first grade and from .71 to .98 between the first and third grades. Equivalence in the two sets of stability coefficients was also found across time. Both the magnitude and equivalence of the stability coefficients were robust to the inclusion of five key exogenous school characteristics as covariates in the model. Results suggest that elementary school contexts are remarkably stable over time and shed light on methodological considerations regarding the treatment of school-level measures in analyses that examine links between school context and children's academic and developmental trajectories.

KW - ECLS-K

KW - Elementary school context

KW - Measurement equivalence

KW - Multidimensional model

KW - Stability

KW - Systems theories

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84939431100&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84939431100&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jsp.2015.05.002

DO - 10.1016/j.jsp.2015.05.002

M3 - Article

C2 - 26270276

AN - SCOPUS:84939431100

VL - 53

SP - 323

EP - 335

JO - Journal of School Psychology

JF - Journal of School Psychology

SN - 0022-4405

IS - 4

ER -