We all know the toll that bullying can take on a child’s self-esteem. A new study out today quantifies the impact that it can have on test scores.

“Our study suggests that a bullying climate may play an important role in student test performance,” said psychologist Dewey Cornell in a HealthDay News story.

The study of 7,300 ninth graders in Virginia showed passing rates on three separate standardized tests were 3 to 6 percent lower at schools where students reported a severe bullying climate.  Not surprisingly, the researches say that students at these schools are less engaged in learning.

All schools today are taking serious steps to address bullying, but anti-bullying “programs’ have mixed results. Changing school culture, it turns out, is not an easy thing to do.