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Influences of School Climate and Teacher’s Behavior on Student’s Competencies in Mathematics and the Territorial Gap between Italian Macro-areas in PISA 2012

Giuseppe Bove, Daniela Marella, Vincenzina Vitale


In this study the effects of school and classroom climate and teacher’s behavior on Italian students’ mathematical achievement score in PISA 2012 were investigated. Simple and scale indices provided by the PISA database, constructed by responses from the students’ and principals’ background questionnaires, were considered as predictive variables of the math achievement scores. Multilevel models including all the predictive variables, controlling for some relevant student, family background and school variables, confirmed that perceptions of school and classroom climate and teachers’ behavior influence mathematics performance in PISA. In particular, the effect of the teacher’s use of cognitive activation strategies had the strongest positive effect, followed by the school and classroom climate indicators. Thus, more cognitively activating instruction and an orderly and peaceful atmosphere in schools and classrooms encourage students and help to transform existing interests into mathematic achievement. Our analyses show that these factors can also influence the gap between Northern and Southern Italian macro-areas. When the predictive variables are added to the control variables in our multilevel models including macro-area indicators, the gap between Northern macro-areas and the Southern-Islands decreases by over twenty per cent, and the gap between Northern macro-areas and the Southern by over fourteen per cent. On the basis of these results, we have provided some useful indications for Italian educators and policy makers.


Mathematical achievement; Multilevel models; PISA; School climate; Territorial gap

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2016-013-bove


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Giuditta Alessandrini - Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi