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School characteristics that make a difference for the achievement of all students: A 40‐year odyssey

Wayne Hoy (School of Educational Policy and Leadership, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 27 January 2012




The purpose of this paper is to trace a 40‐year research journey to identify organizational properties that foster the achievement of all students, regardless of socio‐economic status (SES).


The author describes a search for school properties that have an impact on the cognitive and social‐emotional development of faculty and students, with special emphasis on academic achievement.


Three characteristics of schools were identified that make a positive difference for student achievement controlling for the SES: collective efficacy, collective trust in parents and students, and academic emphasis of the school. Further these three measures are elements of a latent construct, academic emphasis of school, which is a powerful predictor of student achievement regardless of SES.


The paper identifies school variables that are often as important, or more important, than SES in explaining academic achievement, and a new model is created to explain how academic optimism influences student achievement.



Hoy, W. (2012), "School characteristics that make a difference for the achievement of all students: A 40‐year odyssey", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 50 No. 1, pp. 76-97.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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