School achievement and performance in Chilean high schools: The mediating role of subjective wellbeing in school-related evaluations

Verónica López, Juan C. Oyanedel, Marian Bilbao, Javier Torres, Denise Oyarzún, Macarena Morales, Paula Ascorra, Claudia Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


School achievement gaps and school failure are problematic issues in Latin America, and are mainly explained by the socio-economic status (SES) of the students. What schools can do to improve school achievement and reduce school failure is a critical issue, both for school management and teacher training. In this study, we present the association of individual and school-related socio-emotional variables with school achievement and performance, controlling for the effects of SES. A probabilistic sample of 4,964 students, drawn from 191 schools enrolled in year 10 in urban areas of Chile, answered questionnaires assessing subjective wellbeing, social wellbeing in school, school climate, school social wellbeing and students' perceptions of teachers' wellbeing. Using structural equation modeling, and controlling for SES, we modeled subjective wellbeing as a mediator of the relationship between school-related variables, such as school climate and perception of teacher's wellbeing, and (a) school achievement, and (b) school performance. School achievement was computed as a product of (a) the probability of passing the school year, and (b) the percentage of yearly attendance at school. Data on school achievement was drawn from administrative registries from the Chilean Ministry of Education. School performance was computed as the estimated grade point average (GPA) at the end of the school year, based on the students' previous 5-year GPAs, and was also obtained through administrative data of the last 5 years. Findings reveal the mediating role of subjective wellbeing in the relationship between school-related evaluations (students' social wellbeing at school, their perception of teachers' wellbeing and school climate) and school achievement. For school achievement, two variables were mediated (students' social wellbeing at school and school climate). However, for school performance, no significant mediations were found. We conclude that, on the one hand, after controlling for SES, students' individual subjective wellbeing is associated with their achievement and performance in school. We discuss the importance of improving school experiences that may protect and promote students' subjective experience and school achievement and performance, and reduce the probability of school failure and dropout.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1189
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2017


  • Chile
  • High school
  • Latin America
  • School achievement
  • School climate
  • School failure
  • Social wellbeing
  • Student wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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