Understanding students' sense of safety at school

Mustafa Asil*, Alison Gilmore, Albert K Liau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


A large body of research indicates that wellbeing is vital for students’ success at school and inlife. Students’ sense of feeling safe at school is considered to be important for improvingstudents’ mental and emotional wellbeing. Fostering a sense of safety is positively associatedwith student achievement affecting their resilience in turn.The purpose of the present study is to investigate the following questions:a. How positive are New Zealand students in their sense of feeling safe at school?b. Are there any differences in students’ sense of feeling safe at school by year level,gender, and school decile (a proxy for SES)?c. To what extent are students’ sense of belonging at school related to their attitude andconfidence to learn in Mathematics?The National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) is a sample based nationalproject designed to assess and understand student achievement across the New ZealandCurriculum at Year 4 and Year 8 in English-medium state and in state-integrated schools. In2018, the focus areas were Mathematics and Social Studies. In order to understand factorsthat influence achievement, NMSSA collects data from students about their attitude andconfidence to learn in each curriculum area. To explore student wellbeing, NMSSA collecteddata in 2018 about students’ sense of feeling safe at school.Item Response Theory (Rasch) was employed to construct measurement scales. MultilevelModelling (MLM) was conducted to investigate students’ sense of feeling safe at school inrelation to attitude and confidence scale scores in mathematics and some other backgroundvariables including year level, gender, and school decile.Most students reported feeling safe at school. Most of the discrepancies in students’ sense offeeling safe lied within schools (among students) rather than between schools. Associationbetween feeling safe at school and school decile was not statistically significant. Year 4students and girls demonstrated significantly higher levels of feeling safe at school than didYear 8s and boys. Relationships between feeling safe at school and attitude & confidencescale scores were positive and statistically significant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th Asia Pacific Contemporary Research (APCCR-2019)
EditorsJane Francis
Place of PublicationGordon, Australia
PublisherAsia Pacific Institute of Advance Research (APIAR)
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)978-0-6482404-6-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2019
Event5th Asia Pacific Conference on Contemporary Research - Education Development Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 2 Aug 20193 Aug 2019


Conference5th Asia Pacific Conference on Contemporary Research
Abbreviated titleAPCCR- 2019
Internet address


  • Attitude
  • Confidence
  • Sense of Feeling Safe at School


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