College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-22-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Susan D. McMahon, PhD

Second Advisor

Leonard Jason, PhD


In recent years the quality of education available to children has become increasingly dependent on the social and economic demographics of neighborhoods in which the children live. This study assesses the role of community violence in explaining the relation between SES and academic outcomes and the potential of positive school climate to promote academic achievement. With a sample of 297 Chicago public elementary schools, we test the hypotheses that violent crime mediates the relation between SES and academic achievement, and school climate has a direct effect on achievement and moderates the relation between SES and academic achievement. Results support the hypothesized mediation such that lower SES was associated with lower academic achievement and violent crime partially mediated this relation. School climate was positively associated with academic achievement but did not significantly moderate the relation between SES and academic achievement. Implications for theory, research, and interventions are discussed.

SLP Collection