A research has indicated that high schools in Virginia where students reported a high rate of bullying had significantly lower scores on standardized tests that students must pass to graduate.
"Our study suggests that a bullying climate may play an important role in student test performance," said Dewey Cornell, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor of education at the University of Virginia.
"This research underscores the importance of treating bullying as a schoolwide problem rather than just an individual problem," added Cornell.
The research, which is part of the ongoing Virginia High School Safety Study, compiled surveys about bullying in 2007 from more than 7,300 ninth-grade students and almost 3,000 teachers at 284 high schools located across Virginia. Approximately two-thirds of the students were white, 22 percent were African American, and 5 percent were Hispanic.
The study found that school wide passing rates on standardized exams for Algebra I, Earth Science and World History were 3 percent to 6 percent lower in schools where students reported a more severe bullying climate.
"This difference is substantial because it affects the school's ability to meet federal requirements and the educational success of many students who don't pass the exams," said Cornell.
The study was presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.