Quality of School Life Scale

Epstein, J. L., and McPartland, J. M. (1977). Administration and technical manual for the Quality of School Life Scale. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Mimeo.

Comments: The 27-item Quality of School Life (QSL) is a multidimensional measure of student reactions to school in general, to their classwork, and to their teachers. It is designed for use with students in grades 4–12. It will help teachers, administrators, and researchers measure students’ reactions, to describe and monitor the conditions of school life, and to make decisions about the success of school programs.

Scale Construction: The instrument uses multiple choice, true-false, and Likert-type formats, alternately, in order (ac- cording to the authors) to minimize response set. Of the 27 items that make up the instrument, 14 items use a true-false response, nine items use multiple choice, and four items use a Likert response.

Sample: The sample consisted of 1,060 elementary students and 3,206 secondary students from one school district in Maryland.

Reliability: Reliability estimates for the total instrument and for the subscales ranged between 0.80 and 0.89 for the various student groups.

Validity: Evidence for concurrent and discriminate validity was obtained from questionnaire items, open-ended written comments, peer and teacher nominations (known-group method) and achievement tests. Correlations are provided of the QSL with school performance and participation, family background variables, and educational and occupational plans. In general, students who report high satisfaction with the quality of their school experience are those who are comfortable with the demands and opportunities of the school setting, are industrious and ambitious, have more positive self-evaluations, and receive positive evaluation from teachers and parents.

Factor Analysis: A principal components analysis with a varimax rotation was performed to check the dimensionality among the 27 items. Four interpretable factors emerged. Two of these correspond to the SAT and COM subscales, two other factors divided the TCH subscale into two parts. However, after several statistical tests and comparisons, the TCH subscale was retained as a single dimension.

Definition of Subscales: Three subscales were derived: Satisfaction with School (SAT) subscale examines students’ general reactions to school. Students who are positive in their evaluation of school life may be more likely to experi- ence feelings of general well-being. Commitment to Classwork (COM) subscale deals with the level of student inter- est in classwork. Reactions to Teachers (TCH) subscale examines student evaluations of instructional and personal interactions with teacher. Overall the quality of school experiences may influence student behavior and attitudes.


Epstein, J. L., and McPartland, J. M. (1976). Quality of School Life Scale. Chicago: Riverside Publishing.

Epstein, J. L., and McPartland, J. M. (1976). The concept and measurement of the Quality of School Life. American Educational Research Journal 13:15–30.

Von Schlegell, H. (2008). Hope through service: A critical inquiry into the effects and relationships of service-learning experiences on hope, attitudes toward school, and community service self-efficacy among a sample of students at-risk of dropping out of high school. PhD dissertation, Loyola University, Chicago.

Quality of School Life Scale

Sample Items

1. I like school very much.
2. Most of the time I do not want to go to school.
3. The school and I are like: Good Friends; Friends; Distant Relatives; Strangers; Enemies.
4. Work in class is just buys work and a waste of time.
5. In class, I often count the minutes till it ends.
6. In my classes I get so interested in an assignment or project that I don’t want to stop work. Every day; quite often; hardly ever; never.
7. The things I get to work on in most of my classes are: Great stuff—really interesting to me; Good stuff—pretty in- teresting to me; OK—school work is school work; Dull stuff—not very interesting to me; Trash—a total loss for me.
8. I wish I could have the same teachers next year.
9. Most of my teachers want me to do things their way and not my own way.
10. Teachers here have a way with students that make us like them.
11. Thinking of my teachers this term, I really like: All of them; Most of them; Half of them; One or two of them; None of them.

Scoring: The SAT subscale score is the sum of the points received for items 3, 7, 11, 19, 24; COM subscale is items 1, 5, 9, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27; and TCH subscale is items 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 26.