Term of Award

Fall 1997

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Ronald Davison

Committee Member 1

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 2

Deborah Thomas

Committee Member 3

Michael Richardson


This study was based on the rationale that no school district should design or implement a restructuring or reform initiative such as shared decision making (SDM) without a careful examination of the existing level of all the interrelated dimensions of restructuring and reform in each school. A school's capacity is critical for successful reform; therefore, if policy makers are to design successful policies, they must pay attention to the multiple dimensions of capacity in a school's climate.

This study's first purpose was to develop a survey instrument based on the precepts of shared decision making as a restructuring mechanism for systemic reform. The study's second purpose was to administer the instrument at each school in the participating school district to assess the professional staffs perception for the degree of each dimension of capacity as well as the degree to which the dimensions of capacity were inter-correlated.

This study used seven environmental indicators and four instructional delivery models as the eleven dimensions of capacity in a school's climate. The organizational components addressed by these environmental indicators included leadership, components addressed by these environmental indicators included leadership, The instructional delivery models reflected the systemic reform movement's goals of teaching for understanding, educating all students, and using technology and integrated approaches.

Quantitative procedures were used to conduct this study. The survey's development included establishing through a series ofpilot studies its content, face, and concurrent validity, as well as its internal and test-retest reliability. The resultant survey instrument consisted of 73 items with a six-point Likert scale, seven 'yes'/'no' response items, and one rank order item.

The survey instrument was used in the participating school district to collect the data. Descriptive statistics were used to measure the professional staff's perceptions of the strength of each of the dimensions of capacity at each school in the district. Pearson correlational statistics were used to determine how the dimensions of capacity were related among and between each other.

The findings ofthe study indicated that the strongest dimensions for restructuring and systemic reform existed in the elementary schools. The least capacity for restructuring and systemic reform as evidenced by strength of the dimensions existed at the high school followed closely by the middle school. Educating all students, integrated approaches, leadership, instructional guidance system, information, and power had correlations of .50 or greater with a significance level of p


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