Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Chad D. Ellett

Abstract

During the past two decades, several important lines of inquiry have been developed to study the complex organizational and learning environment features of schools. In addition, researchers, theorists and educational policy makers have become increasingly concerned about educational reform and change, and with establishing linkages between educational improvement efforts and the effectiveness of schools. The extant school effectiveness and effects literatures have primarily focused on student achievement as the school outcome/productivity variable of concern. Alternatively, the literature on the study of schools as organizations has primarily focused on the measurement of school organizational, cultural and environmental variables and linkages of these to the efficiency, adaptability and general productivity of schools as organizational units. This study addresses the need to develop more comprehensive, integrated conceptual frameworks for studying schools that utilize multiple indices of school effectiveness, and that link these indices to school organizational, environmental and personal variables. Teachers (n = 1041) drawn from fifty-three schools in a large, urban/suburban school district in a southeastern state participated in the study. Survey data were collected using original measures of teacher self and organizational efficacies and characteristics of the professional learning environment of schools, and a revised measure of teacher receptivity to change. These variables were subsequently linked to multiple indices of school productivity, holding power and organizational effectiveness. The study variables were organized, and exploratory data analyses were completed in view of a Model of School Change and Effectiveness (MSCE) specifically developed for the study. Major results of the study showed that the measures of teacher efficacy and the professional learning environment characteristics of schools demonstrate adequate construct validity and reliability. Primary linkages in the MSCE were established between the teacher efficacy and learning environment variables and school organizational effectiveness, rather than student productivity (achievement) and school holding power (student attendance). The empirical structure of the teacher efficacy measure suggested that self and organizational efficacies become unitary teacher perceptions in view of a history of repeated school failures. Comparisons of results for between and within school analyses documented a series of important methodological and conceptual concerns for those pursuing research on schools as organizations and school effectiveness. The importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative methodologies and various units of analysis in future research to establish greater sensitivity to school context variables was noted. Implications of the findings for future theory development and research on schools and for integrating existing, multiple lines of inquiry on school effectiveness and effects were given.

Pages

293

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