High academic aspirations relate to higher achievement and better mental health, but less is known about how these aspirations are formed in relation to the educational context.
This study aims to investigate the relationship between overall school climate, with particular concern for the dimensions of school level expectations and support as rated by both teachers and students and adolescent academic aspirations.
Multilevel logistic models for repeated measures were used in order to investigate the relationship between measures of school climate and adolescents’ academic aspirations. Three annual waves of questionnaire data were used to obtain aggregated teacher- and student-rating of school climate, including specific dimensions of teacher expectations and support.
Positive teacher-rated overall school climate was associated with an increased odds of adolescents aiming at a university education rather than at a lower one (adjusted OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.14–1.63 for the intermediate tertile; OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.14–1.70 for the highest tertile). A similar trend was found for the teacher-rated measures of expectations and student focus, but not for any of the student-rated school climate measures.
A positive school climate rated by teachers appears to predict adolescents’ university aspirations. Future research should clarify which aspects of the school climate may influence adolescent academic aspirations from the students’ perspective.