EDSCLS Measures

ED School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS)


The EDSCLS measures a total of 13 school climate subtopics across 3 domains in each of its surveys.  The EDSCLS platform, or Virtual Machine (VM), generates both item level data for each survey item and scale score reports for each topic.*  Scale scores are the primary metric used by the EDSCLS, as well as many other school climate surveys, to measure school climate. A scale score basically combines data for multiple survey items that measure the same topic area into one, creating a more robust measure of a topic area than looking at the data for individual items separately. The EDSCLS platform produces a scale score for each topic area by averaging all respondents in whatever group the user specifies (e.g., school overall, male respondents, White respondents, etc.).

To learn more about the EDSCLS measures, below is more information on the: 

Topic Areas (The EDSCLS School Climate Model)

The three domains of school climate and the topics within each (as shown below) are measured in the EDSCLS.

School Climate Model Figure

*Sites using the EDSCLS should note three things about this model:

  1. Physical Health is shown in the model as one of the topic areas within the Environment domain. However, while a Physical Health score will be available for instructional staff and non-instructional staff, EDSCLS does not produce a Physical Health score for students.
  2. The parent/guardian survey is not designed to produce scores. Due to the brevity of the survey, parent/guardian data should be examined at only the item level.
  3. While Emergency Management and Readiness (EMR) is shown as one of the topic areas within the Safety domain, it was not designed to produce a scale; thus EMR data should be examined at only the item level.

Pilot Study Findings

EDSCLS Pilot Test 2015 Report summarizes the findings from the pilot test conducted to evaluate the EDSCLS instruments, develop school climate scales, and beta test the survey platform. The pilot test was also used to produce evidence-based recommendations for the final set of EDSCLS items included in the EDSCLS platform and finalize the EDSCLS User Guide that accompanies the platform.

R Code

For researchers and EDSCLS users who are administering the EDSCLS surveys but not using the platform or VM, the R codes can be found below. A PDF version of the codes are available within Appendix F of the EDSCLS User Administration Guide.

For users wanting to preserve legacy trend lines: If you would like to generate scale scores as produced by the platform prior to the release of VM 3.0 in November 2017 (aka “legacy” scale scores), the EDSCLS Help Desk can send you the legacy R code. Please contact the Help Desk at edscls@air.org or (866) 730-6735.

 R File for Instructional Staff Survey 


R File for Noninstructional Staff Survey


R File for Student Survey

EDSCLS Survey Item Lists Item Bank

For lists of items for each survey, NCSSLE has a list of items for each survey depending on the respondent. You can also visit the Administration webpage for additional information.

EDSCLS Survey Item Lists


Supplementary School Climate Survey Item Bank

For survey administrators looking to add items to their school climate survey in response online learning, NCSSLE has prepared an item bank of tested school climate survey items. Originally designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this list may still be useful for administrators for schools providing online instruction and more. 

Supplementary School Climate Survey Item Bank

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

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