Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Bo Zhang

Committee Members

Curtis J. Jones, Leigh E. Wallace


Differential Item Functioning, Factor Analysis, HLM, Validity


This study seeks to understand the measurement of younger students’ perceptions of the school learning environment and their possible association with academic achievement. The target population is 4th and 5th grade students. Their perception of the school environment was compared to 7th graders by factor analysis, measurement invariance, differential item functioning, and hierarchical linear modeling. This study found that younger students’ perceptions are different from middle school students. However, like their middle school peers, these perceptions still predict academic performance.