Date of Award

12-2002

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Gordon Donaldson

Second Committee Member

Theodore Coladarci

Third Committee Member

Sarah Mackenzie

Abstract

After decades of research on school reform, initiatives to improve student learning have been largely unsuccessful at influencing practice at the classroom level. However, some schools and some teachers are successful at implementing initiatives to improve student learning. This study sought to examine factors that might affect teachers' perceived likelihood of implementation of the Maine Learning Results (MLR), Maine's standards-based learning initiative. The study explored the relationships among four teacher variables: teacher efficacy, teacher attitudes toward the MLR, teacher perceptions of organizational support, and teachers' perceived likelihood of implementing the MLR in 2003. Using a path analysis model, this study examined how the first three variables interacted to influence teachers' perceived likelihood of implementing the MLR. A survey, comprised of four separate scales with established reliability scores, was mailed to a random sample of 200 6th - gth grade, regular-education teachers. The scales were: the Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale, perceptions of organizational support, attitudes toward the MLR, and perceived likelihood of MLR implementation. The findings from this study established that teachers overwhelmingly agreed philosophically with high academic standards. However, they were not as supportive of state-mandated standards. Overall, teachers were confident in their teaching abilities. Their views of organizational support varied, and most expressed confidence that they would fully or mostly implement the MLR by 2003. The study found significant positive bivariate relationships among the four teacher variables ranging in strength from .20 to .43. The path analysis established that the three independent variables explained 30% of the variance in the implementation variable. It established that a causal relationship existed among these variables: positive perceptions of organizational support led to a higher teacher efficacy, more positive attitudes toward the MLR, and to an increased likelihood of teachers to perceive they would implement the MLR. The study established that teachers' perceptions of organizational support, teacher efficacy, and attitudes toward a mandated refonn can help to predict teacher perceptions of likelihood to implement a refonn. Policymakers and school administration would be well advised to keep the factors in this study in mind in the development of strategies to support mandated reform.

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