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Teacher commitment to the implementation of ninth grade academies and their perceptions of school leadership
h [electronic resource] /
by Deborah Kindel.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 186 pages.
(Ed.D.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This study examined the commitment of teachers to the implementation of ninth grade academies and their perceptions of school leadership during the reform process. Concern for successful high school completion prompted the redesign of ninth grade into a school-within-a-school format within a Florida school district. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the type of commitment and form of leadership evident in this reform initiative along with the relationship between them. As a mindset for change, commitment was represented as affective, normative, and continuance. Leadership styles were delineated as transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant along with related outcomes of effectiveness, satisfactions and extra effort. This study utilized an electronic survey with purposive sampling. Five questions concerning the type of commitment, the form of leadership and outcomes, and the correlation between commitment and leadership guided this research. Descriptive analysis of the responses from 105 teachers produced findings of both affective and normative commitment to change and evidence of transformational leadership as well as the contingent reward dimension of transactional leadership. Leadership outcomes of effectiveness, satisfaction, and extra effort were also expressed by teachers. The results validated the presence of affective and normative commitment of teachers responsible for reform efforts and indicated a relational influence between transformational and transactional leadership behaviors with these two forms of commitment to change. Current pressures of accountability have channeled schools into models of continuous improvement. If schools are to enact lasting change, an understanding of commitment and leadership is needed to produce sustainable school reform.
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Bruner, Darlene .
x Educational leadership Secondary Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Teacher Commitment to the Implementation of Ninth Grade Academies and Their Perceptions of School Leadership by Deborah Kindel Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: Darlene Bruner, Ed.D. William Black, Ph.D. Bobbie Greenlee, Ed.D. Yi Hsin Chen, Ph.D. Date of Approval: February 22, 2011 Keywords: School Refor m, Organizational Change, Transformational Leadership, Transactional Leadership, School Accountability Copyright 2011, Deborah Kindel
Dedication This paper is dedicated to my children, Andrew, Breanne, and Matthew. You have been a constant source of inspiration to me. This endeavor represents one dream of mine, and you provided the light that guided my path to achieve it. You have made this jour ney a worthwhile endeavor. To each of my children, m ay you envision possibilities and achieve your own dreams. To my husband who was supportive of my commitment to this dream. You helped me maintain a sense of balance along the way. Finally, this paper is dedicated to the memory of my parents who encouraged my dreams and were always so proud of my accomplishments.
Acknowledgement s Thank you to Dr. Darlene Bruner, my chair, who so generously devoted her time and expertise to me throughout this process. Without her guidance, the path of this journey would have been much less clear. Thank you also to my committee members Dr. Bobbie Greenlee, Dr. William Black, and Dr. Yi Hsin Chen. I am so appreciate of the time and wisdom that you shared with m e. You made me reach beyond my comfort zone to become a better thinker and educator. Thank you for giving me different perspectives to guide me along the way. I also want to thank my fellow Tampa cohort members. I value the time that we shared and the encouragement you gave. In part icular, to my study buddy, C.S.C., thank you for all of the support along this journey. I hope that each of you achieve your goals. Finally, thank you to my family. Without your support, I could never have completed this journey. You never swayed in your belief that I could do this. Even during the times that this journey took my time away from family, you understood and cheered me on. I hope that I have lived up to your expectations because you have certainly lived up to mine.
i Table of Contents Dedication ........................................................................................................................... ii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ iii List of Table s ..................................................................................................................... iv Abstract .............................................................................................................................. vi Chapter One Introduction ................................................................................................... 1 Organiza tion of Chapter One .................................................................................. 1 Background of the Study ........................................................................................ 1 The Complexity of Change in Schools ....................................................... 2 The Importance of Reform for Ninth Grade ............................................... 3 The Effect of Leadership in Reform ........................................................... 3 The Effect of Teacher Commitment in Reform .......................................... 4 Statement of the Research Problem ........................................................................ 5 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................... 6 Methodology of the Study ...................................................................................... 7 Research Questions ................................................................................................. 8 Conceptual Framework ........................................................................................... 9 Limitations and Delimitation of the Study ............................................................ 11 Limitations ................................................................................................ 11 Delimitations ............................................................................................. 11 Assumptions of the Study ..................................................................................... 12 Definition of Key Terms ....................................................................................... 12 Summary of the Introduction ................................................................................ 13 Organization of the Study ..................................................................................... 13 Chapt er Two Literature Review ....................................................................................... 15 Organization of Chapter Two ............................................................................... 15 Rationale for School Change ................................................................................ 16 The Evolving Role of School Leadership ............................................................. 18 Leadership in School Reform ............................................................................... 24 Transformational Leadership .................................................................... 24 Transformational Leadership and Moral Purpose ..................................... 28 Transactional Leadership .......................................................................... 30 Passive/ Avoidant Leadership .................................................................... 31
ii Leadership Outcomes ................................................................................ 31 Commitment to Change in School Reform ........................................................... 33 Indicators of Commitment ........................................................................ 33 Challenges to Commitment ....................................................................... 37 Antecedents of Commitment .................................................................... 40 Implementing High School Reform for Ninth Grade ........................................... 43 School within a School Reform Model .................................................... 46 School within a School as a Community ................................................. 47 Issues of Ninth Grade Success .................................................................. 49 Ac ademic Issues ........................................................................................ 49 Social Issues .............................................................................................. 53 Equity Issues ............................................................................................. 54 Ninth Grade Redesign ............................................................................... 55 Sustaining High School Reform for Ninth Grade ................................................. 59 External Influences ................................................................................... 59 Internal Influences .................................................................................... 62 Summary of Literature Review ............................................................................. 65 Implications for Research ..................................................................................... 66 Chapt er Three Methods .................................................................................................... 68 Organization of Chapter Three ............................................................................. 68 Problem and Purpose of the Study ........................................................................ 68 Research Questions ............................................................................................... 69 Profile of Academy Implementation in the District .............................................. 70 Leadership for Academy Implementation ................................................ 71 Academy Structure and Practices ............................................................. 72 Research Population .............................................................................................. 73 Design of the Study ............................................................................................... 75 Design of the Instrument ....................................................................................... 79 Data Collection ..................................................................................................... 82 Quantitative Data Collection ..................................................................... 82 Validity and Reliability ............................................................................. 82 Data Ana lysis ........................................................................................................ 85 Researcher Role and Ethical Considerations ........................................................ 88 Summary of Methods ............................................................................................ 90 Chapter Four Findings ...................................................................................................... 91 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................. 91 Research Questions ............................................................................................... 92 Research Design .................................................................................................... 92 Research Sample ................................................................................................... 93 Demographic Data ................................................................................................ 94 Study Instrumentation ........................................................................................... 94 Quantitative Data Analysis ................................................................................... 95 Presentation of Findings ....................................................................................... 96
iii Research Question One ............................................................................. 97 Research Question Two .......................................................................... 100 Research Question Three ........................................................................ 107 Research Question Four .......................................................................... 109 Summary of Correlations .................................................................................... 111 Research Question Five .......................................................................... 112 Summary of Chapter Four .................................................................................. 114 Chapter Five Summary and Discussion .......................................................................... 117 Purpose of the study ............................................................................................ 118 Research Questions ............................................................................................. 119 Context of the Study ........................................................................................... 119 Sample Population .............................................................................................. 121 Study Instrumentation ......................................................................................... 122 Discussion ........................................................................................................... 122 General Findings ..................................................................................... 123 Commitme nt to Change .......................................................................... 125 Leadership Style in Reform .................................................................... 130 Relationship of Leadership Style and Commitment to Change .............. 135 Leadership Outcomes and School Reform ............................................. 144 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 147 Implications for Pra ctice ..................................................................................... 149 Implications for Future Research ........................................................................ 151 Appendices ...................................................................................................................... 170 Appendix A: Questionnaire for School Change ................................................. 171 Appendix B: License Agreements ...................................................................... 174 Appendix C: District Approval Form ................................................................. 175 About the Author ................................................................................................... End Page
iv List of Tables Table 1 District Profile for Graduation, Dropout, and Ninth Grade Nonpromotion Rates 70 Table 2 Items for Each Leadership Subscale on the MLQ 5X 81 Table 3 Summary of Research Questions, Data Collection, and Analysis 87 Table 4 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Commitment to Change 98 Table 5 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Commitment to Change 99 Table 6 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Transformational Leadership and Subscales 102 Table 7 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Transformational Leadership 103 Table 8 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Transactional Leadership and Subscales 104 Table 9 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Transactional Leadership 105 Table 10 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Passive/Avoidant Leadership and Subscales 106 Table 11 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Passive/Avoidant Leadership 107 Table 12 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Leadership 108 Table 13 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Transformational Subscales 109 Table 14 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Transactional Subscales 110
v Table 15 Summary Bivariate Correla tion Results for Commitment and Passive/Avoidant Subscales 111 Table 16 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Leadership Outcomes 113 Table 17 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Leadership Outcomes 113
vi Abstract This study examined the commitment of teachers to the implementation of ninth grade academies and their perceptions of school leadership during the reform process. Concern for successful high school completion prompted the redesign of ninth grade into a s chool within a school format within a Florida school district. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the type of commitment and form of leadership evident in this reform initiative along with the relationship between them. As a mindset fo r change, commitment was represented as affective, normative, and continuance. Leadership styles were delineated as transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant along with related outcomes of effectiveness, satisfactions and extra effort. This s tudy utilized an electronic survey with purposive sampling. Five questions concerning the type of commitment, the form of leadership and outcomes, and the correlation between commitment and leadership guided this research. Descriptive analysis of the res ponses from 105 teachers produced findings of both affective and normative commitment to change and evidence of transformational leadership as well as the contingent reward dimension of transactional leadership. Leadership outcomes of effectiveness, satisfaction, and extra effort were also expressed by teachers. The results validated the presence of affective and normative commitment of teachers responsible for reform efforts and indicated a relational influence between transformational and transactional leadership behaviors with these two forms of commitment to change. Current pressures
vii of accountability have channeled schools into models of continuous improvement. If schools are to enact lasting change, an understanding of commitment and leadership is needed to produce sustainable school reform.
1 Chapter One Introduction Organization of Chapter One Chapter One is organized into a background of the study, statement of the research p roblem, purpose of the study, methodology of the study, research questions, the conceptual framew ork, limitations of the study, the assumptions, definition of key terms, and conclude s with a summary of the chapter and an overview of the chapters that follow. Background of the Study Since the 1960s, organizational change has been a recurring area of interest in regard to the effect on organizational outcomes (Smylie & Evans, 2006). Fueling this interest has been different forces including public demands for school accountabi lity, economic crises, social change, and global expansion (Murphy & Beck, 1994). A ccountability in the form of the No Child Left Behind (2001) legislation provides a legal interest in the performance of schools while internal conceptions of accountability give rise to the responsibilities that school e ducators define for themselves in terms of the students that they serve. Subsequently, internal and external forms of accountability place pressure upon schools to strive for greater student success ( Abelmann, Elmore, Even, Kenyon, & Marshall, 1999; Elmore, 2004; Englert, Fries, Goodwin, MartinGlenn, and Michael, 2004; No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, sec.1001). For high schools, t he restructuring of large comprehensive organizations into smaller school within a school units has attracted interest to improve the success of
2 students at the secondary level (Darling Hammond, 2006, p. 643; Lachat, 2001; Lee & Burkam, 2003; USDOE, 2001). T his conversion of high schools into smaller school designs prese nts a considerable difference i n the work of secondary school educators To accomplish such significant change, the literature supported both school leadership and individual commi tment as critical elements of successful change ( Fedor, Caldwell, & Herold, 2006; Geijsel, Sleegers, Leithwood, & Jantzi, 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Herold, Fedor, Caldwell, & Liu, 2008; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; Leithwood, & Jantzi, 2006b). Consequently, t he mutual relationship of these two elements contributes to the framework for strategic change in schools. The complexity of change in schools Effecting strategic change in schools necessitates the understanding that chan ge is not an event but is a multivariate an d dynamic process (Fullan, 2007; Hall & Hord, 2006). At any stage of the process, c hanges to the work of individuals within the school may prompt concerns on the part of those touched by areas of change. Alterations to the instructional norms that typify teachers daily work or c oncern for the impact of change on students learning can spark questions in some teachers minds regarding calls for new initiatives (Hall & Hord, 2001). Thus, commitment to the strategic implement ation of new practices may be derailed by the individuals on the frontline of reform efforts. Bolman and Deal (2003) underscored the importance of the human resources aspect of the organization in their four frame analysis of leadership. Operating from a human resource frame, school leaders can develop a critical mass for achieving change goals. Gaining the commitment and buyin of teachers is integral to school reform. In the absence of attention to individuals roles in change new initiatives may fail to acquire
3 the glue that binds the efforts of both school leaders and teachers in the work for school reform. The importance of reform for ninth grade. Reform of the m odern high school has drawn attention in the literature in regard to its size and comprehensive nature. Reduction of the larger organization into smaller units has been proposed by some as an antidote to the complexity of the larger school structure ( La chat, 2001; Owen Cooper, & Brown, 2002; USDOE, 2001). Baker, Derrer, Davis, Dinklage Travis, Linder, & Nicholson (2001, p. 407) posited that schools are not neutral stages upon which students enact academic behavior. They are active, dynamic settings t hat configure and constrain opportunities for student success . Evidence of improved academic and social outcomes in smaller schools reaffirmed the importance of paring down the large high school setting ( Baker et al., 2001; Darling Hammond, 2006; Lachat, 2001; Lee & Burkam, 2003; USDOE, 2001). One prominent sugge stion in the literature pertained to the redesign of ninth grade into a separate academy ( Ilg & Massucci, 2003; Oxley, 2005; Patterson, Beltyukova, Berman, & Francis, 2007). Essential to creating significant change in the structure and practice of schools is th e influence of the leadership directing those reform developments (Calabrese, 2002). The effect of leadership in reform. Scho en and Fusarelli (2008) asserted that t odays school leaders are faced with multiple calls for change, improvement, and reform (p.1). Within th e context of change the literature emphasized the importance of the moral and transformational domains of lea dership (Fullan, 2001; Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Le ithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; Leithwood, & Jantzi, 2006b). According to Fullan (2001), the moral purpose of school leaders should be directed toward developing
4 supportive school conditions for bot h staff and students. In concert with moral intentions, Leithwood and Jantzis (2006b) conception of transformational leadership depicts leaders who inspire teachers to a new vision of schooling, attend to individual needs of teachers in this effort, and provide intellectual stimulation for learning new methods. C ontrast ing the largely idealist perspective of transformational leaders, the transactional form of leadership is more attuned to maximizing individual task performance Associated rewards or san ctions attached to this performance contribute to the level of motivation to comply with work expectations (Bass, 1997). While these forms of leadership differ in their orientation to followers, each may emerge in relation to the commitment of individual efforts for change The effect of teacher commitment in reform Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) described commitment to change as a personal mindset regarding actions that are directed toward successful implementation of new initiatives. However, not all individuals within an organization will exhibit the same type of co mmitment to the implementation of change. These researchers differentiated commit ment in three ways: continuance commitment, normative commitment, and affective commitment. Individuals that comply with change from a stance of continuance commitment engage in new i nitiatives from the fear tha t failure to do so will bring reprisals. Normative commitment presents a sense of professional obligation for change while affective commitment embraces the values and purpose of reform initiatives. C ontinuance commitment may suffice for nominal co mpliance with change directives whereas normative commitment as well as affective commitment raises the level of conscientious engagement in change Moreover, t he latter form was co nsidered the most advantageous in ad vancing the ideals of
5 organizational change. In examining the interactive nature of commitment and leadership, Leithwood, Jantzi, and Fernandez ( 1994) proposed that commitmen t to change may be more prone to the influence of leadership than other forms of commitment. Statement of the Research Problem This study addresse d school leadership styles and teacher commitment to change as perceived by teachers during the implementation of ninth gra de as a school within a school The work of school leaders is multidimensional and fraught with internal and external pressures for improving the performance of all student s. External accountabili t y under the federal legislation of N CLB requires that schools focus on the achievement of all students Each year, schools are evaluated according to their annual yearly progress (AYP) in reading and math at each g rade level from third through tenth as well as for writing and science in fourth, eighth, a nd tenth grades. High schools must also contend with a federal requirement for annual improvements in their graduation rate s. Calculation of these rates is based upon the initial entry into high school with added emphasis by the state on the timely completion of low performing ninth grade students. As these requirements filter down to the local level, individual school struct ures and practices may become subject to review for their effectiveness in achieving requisite standards. Under these prevailing circumstances for improveme nt, a central Florida school district init i ated the impleme ntation of a school within a school design for ninth grade as a primary strategy to improve the achievement outcomes of high school students. Fourteen high schools redesi gned their freshman level into the school within a school
6 format which was referred to as a ninth grade or freshman academy. Even though some high schools in the district initiated ninth grade academies in anticipation of a district policy, the school year 20092010 was established for district wide im plementation. Al though external ly defined expectations for change may follow down a hierarchal path from leaders to teachers, a n internal commitment to these new processes may not develop accordingly. An educational environment that places considerable emphasis on continuous improvement compels a closer attention to the place that educators hold in this process. While leadership has considerable influence on the plight of change an equally im portant c ondition arises through the commitment of teachers t o support new initiatives ( Conner, 1992; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Klein & S orra, 1996). Hence, an examination of leadership and teacher commitmen t within the context of school reform offers a broader picture of the relational positions of educators responsible for successful change. Purpose of the Study Th e purpose of this study was to describe teachers commitment to change and to determine perceptions of school leadership style in connection with a proffered model of transformational leadership during the implementation of ninth grade reform. In the development of school change a con cern exists for the type of leadershi p and the teacher commitment that may be necessary for the success of reform efforts. Research on t ransfo rmational leadership and followers commitment to ch ange in the United States has been largely examined in noneducational settings while school based studies have been primarily conducted outside the United St ates. In both areas of research, a cross section of multiple types of reform was investigated. In contrast this study delineate d
7 high school reform into one change initiative across multiple school sites within the same school district. School leadership has been depicted as a prominent force in the success of school reform efforts. White Smith and White (2009) encouraged researchers to continue examining the patterns of complexity with regards to school change and leadership (p. 278). Advancing these investigations will assist practitioners in developing effective approaches to making change in schools. In a similar vein, the commitment of teachers to new initiatives has been purported to be a necessary condition for successful implementation ( Fedor et al., 2006; Herold et al. 2008; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Zimmerman, 2006). Given the pressures of accountability in high schools, change has become a familiar refrain written across the pages of many high schools improvement plans Through the prevailing responsibility for leaving no child behind, issues of accountability for the achievement of all students may surface as principal targets of change. T his study served to add to the foundati on of knowledge regarding how leadership and teacher commitment to change unfold and the relationship between them Given the significance of leaders and teachers in school reform a deeper understanding of their actions and commitment to undertaking new initiatives may assist in understanding the process of successful school change. Methodology of the Study This study was de signed to describe and explain school leadership style and teacher commitment to change as perceived by teachers during the implementation of a school within a school in the form of ninth grade academies. Ninth grade teachers in
8 f ourteen high schools in a Florida school district comprise d a purposive sample for this research data. A web based survey was provided to teachers in the district who are currently employed or have previous ly taught in a ninth grade academy in the district. Participating ninth grade teachers were asked to indicate their commitment to academy implementation and provide perceptions of the s chool leader ship at the helm of those schools experiencing this reform Leadership characteristics as well as outcomes pertaining to leadership effectiveness, employee sat isfaction and extra effort were explored as components of the study. The d ata analysis relied upon the tools of both descriptive and correlational research designs. Th ese two methods enable d the researcher to compile a detailed numerical and graphical summary of the survey data and to examine the association between them in order t o provide a richer description of leadership and commitment during school reform. Research Questions In accordance with the purpose of the stud y and statement of the research problem, the following questions guide d this study. 1. How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, continuance, or normative types of commitment to change in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 2. What are teachers perceptions of th e school leadership style in the implementation of ninth gra de as a school within a school ? 3. What is the correlation between commitment to change and school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school?
9 4. What is the correlation between commitment to change and subscales of school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 5. To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Conceptual Framework Organizational change theory w as employed as the conceptual foundation in this examination of school leadership and teacher commitment during the implementation of ninth grade reform Hall and Hord (2006) purported change to be a complex and interactive process. To support this conceptualization of change Hall and Hord (1987) drew upon a Concerns Based Adoption Model of change which acknowledged th e individual participant as integral to the interactions guiding suc cessful change initiatives. This model was constructed around three primary elements, the change facilitator, a resource system, and innovation users, to form an interrelated system for change. With two components of the system devoted to individual contributions to change, this model assigned co nsiderable significance to the human side of reform efforts. In setting forth a number of principles to consider in the work for change, Hall and Hord (2006) contended that an organization does not change until the individuals within it change (p. 7) and administrator leadership is essential to long term change success (p.10). As the pivotal element in this model, the change leader holds responsibility for utilizing appropriate resources for change initiatives as well as mobilizing innovation users to engage in new initiatives. For change to be successful, the
10 perceptions of teachers must be understood by thems elves and by leaders (Hall & Hord, 1987, p. 8). Given that those in leadership positions typically assume a pivotal role in the commencement o f new initiatives school leaders must be in tune with teachers mindset regarding change. T his study attend ed to the human framework of change without regard to the material resource element. Thus, the perceived leadership style and subsequent connection to teachers commitment to a school reform effo rt were explored through the lens of change theory to gain a fuller understanding of the process The role of leadership has been noted as critical to successful school change ( Yu Leithwood, & Jantzi 2002). Bass (1997) noted that optimal leaders exhibit both transactional and transformational dimensions in their actions. Bass (1997) further contended that the transactional leader maintains organizational functions while the transformational leader reconfigures the structure of the organization. Leithwood and colleagues expounded on this conception of leadership by describing four dimensions of transformational leadership as setting direction, developing people, redesigning the organization, and employing an aggregate of managerial functions (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a p. 181). Leadership is thus conceptualized as a set of practices and behaviors Such a framework provides a filt er to analyze and interpret leadership actions Brown and Lord (2001) stated that leadership is defined by the behaviors, traits, and characteristics of leaders as they are interpreted by observers (p. 182). Consequently, the impact of leadership on organizational change lies in the interpretation and perception of those who ha ve assumed position s of followers in this endeavor. In conjunction with school leadership, teachers are immersed in the daily work of schools with c ha nge typically directed toward redefining aspects of this work.
11 Perceptions of change may impose conflicts for teachers in their professional pedagogies, personal goals, or established norms (Datnow & Castellano, 2000). One element for consideration in the endeavors for improvement is the comm itment that teachers direct towa rd school reform goals Hers covitch and Meyer (2002) asserted that teacher commitment ensues through one of three avenues: the desire to support initiatives due to the potential benefits of that change for the school (affective) ; a feeling of obligation to support the change (normative); or a fear of sanctions for failing to put forth effort fo r the change (continuance) While the literature suggested that the first avenue may produce greater efforts on the part of followers and potentially a higher level of successful imple mentation, the re is limited research to support this connection. Limitations and Delimitation of the Study Limitations Th is study relie d upon the perceptions of teachers for research data on leadership behaviors. However, the s elf perceptions of school leaders were not incorporated into the study to correlate with teacher responses. Although different levels of leadershi p may exist within districts and schools this studys focus was limited to school principals. The conceptualization of commitment to change was not widely examined in the literature. In particular, the re were few studies on teachers commitment to change. This condition served to limit the availability of background research. In addition, t he repor ted data from this research was restricted by the self reporting format that was used to identify t he level of teacher commitment and perceived school leadership style. Delimitations Leadership was represented in the literature as a multidimensional position. Even though different views of school leadership could have been
12 considered the transformational, transactional and passive avoidant forms of leadership formed the parameters of this investigation While ninth grade teachers may have experiences with other types of school change, the scope of this study was confined to ninth gra de academy implementation. The boundaries of this study were further confined to ninth grade academies within a single school dist rict. The presence of potential influences on teacher commitment other than leadership dimensions were considered to be outside the consideration of this study. A ssumptions of the Study In this study, the following were assumed. 1. The opini on s expressed were those given by the participants. 2. The participants respon d ed to the survey items honestly and to the best of their ability. Definition of Key Terms The purpose of this study was to describe and explain school leadership style and teachers commitment to change as perceived by selected ninth grade teachers during the implementation of a school within a school for ninth grade. In providing clarity to the purpose of this research the necessity emerged to define the terms used throughout this study. Comprehensive High School: A type of high school that is departmentalized with a differentiated curriculum. External Accountability: External accountability refers to p olicy or mandates for actions that emanate from sources outside the local school.
13 Freshman or Ninth Grade Academy: A school within a school format that serves to separate the ninth grade level in the high school. Internal Accountability: Internal accountability represents a set of common values and expectati ons within the local school as to what is important in the education of students. School Leader: The term refers to the principal or assistant principals in a school. School within aSchool: A school design which results in stud ents being assigned to small learning communities within the school to reduce the size of schools. Summary of the Introduction A national interest in school accountability has brought the evaluation of schools under public scrutiny. The academic and soci al issues of ninth grade students have be en described in the literature as a particular concern for high schools. One proposed remedy to these concerns has been the redesign of ninth grade into a school within a school format The process of reform is complex and challenging and places demands upon both school leaders and teachers. M oral and transformational orientations were presented in the literature as important in guiding the reform of schools. Complement ary to the endeavors of leadership for successful change is the commitment of teachers to engag e in prospective reform efforts. This study was directed toward investigating leadership style and teacher commitment to change and the relationship that may exist between the two during the reform of ninth grade. Organization of the Study This study of school leadership and teacher commitment to change is organized into five chapters. Chapter One introduce s the study and present s the problem and
14 research questions. Chapter Two present s th e relevant lit erature regarding the evolving role of school leader dimensions of leadership in school reform, relevant commitment to school reform a school within a school reform model, and issues of sustaining reform implementation Chapter Three descr ibe s the methods used to investigate leadership and teacher commitment to the change. Chapter Four present s the results and the analysis of the data. Chapter Five provide s a summary of findings, a discussion, limitations, and implications for practitioners and for future research in leadership and teacher commitment to school improvement efforts.
15 C hapter Two Literature Review Organization of Chapter Two The purpose of this chapter is to review the literature on leadership and teacher com mitment to change within the mediating boundaries of accountability and school reform. The ensuing review was guided by the following comprehensive question: What type of school leadership and level of teacher commitment to change are important for ninth grade reform? This review was developed around the conceptual framework of organizational change theory. While the spark for change may emerge from internal or external sources, organi zational change is reflective of individual commitment Espoused as a process rather than a singular event, organizational change relies upon the roles and behaviors of individuals who participate in change efforts. In schools, both school leaders and teachers occupy significant positions in navigating through the process of change. Substantial attention has been given to the transformational aspects of leadership including setting direction, developing people, and redesigning the organization. In complement to leadership, the level of commitment that teache rs direct toward change may influence their underl ying response to reform efforts such as redefining the large nature of high school. Hence, embracing change constitutes a professional re sponsibility for educators striving to improve the outcomes of schools
16 Rationale for School Change Under the daily demands of managing schools leaders are often called upon to formulate internal mechanisms for c hange F orces for change operate through internal and external expectations for the performance of students. External accountability in the form of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) places political and monetary pressure on schools to adhere to a common set of regulatory standards. In contrast to a uniform set of federal accountability requirements, internal accounta bility systems operate through the local school conceptions of responsibility for student success. At the secondary level, ninth grade has been portrayed as a critical point of influence on students success and as a target of potential high school reform. Although the focus of change is on school improvement, a troubling problem arise s when superficial modifications are made in accordance with enacted policies without authentic changes to the underlying core processes of schools (Datnow & Stringfield, 2000). In reality, schools that undergo multiple reform initiatives may experience little inward change in their assumptions and responsibilities concerning student performance. Even though prevailing expectations exist for the high achievement of all students, the conventional ways of schools may not serve all children equally thus contributing to the impetus for change in traditional practices (Tye, 2000). Multiple measures of high school success, including student performance on state assessments, high school graduation, and postsecondary readiness, merge into a complex set of responsibilities for secondary school educators. In accordance with demands for improving the performance of students, the importance of school leadership is well documented in the literature (Dantley, 2003;
17 Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a ; Starratt 1991) The accountability for improving the performance of secondary school students and the corresponding graduation rates has contributed to a trend for high school r eform. Whether engaged in small or large scale reform, school leadership should be knowledgeable about the process of change and capable of gaining commitment from others for new initiatives (Datnow & Stringfield, 2000). A review of the literature on innovation revealed the importance of the cyclical nature of the process an d the role of leadership (Fullan, 2007; Goodson, 2001; Hall & Hord, 2001; Hord, 1987). In conjunction with leaderships competence for change, successful implementation is also contingent upon the commitment of followers for alternative practices (Herscovitch & Myer, 2002). Although organizational commitment occupies one aspect of consideration for successful change, a different view was explored to i dentify the supportive attitude s pecific to the conditions of change Often noted as a loosel y coupled system, the structure of conventional schools reflects a measure of latitude in how teachers carry out the work in their classrooms. Changing this work becomes problematic without the commitment of teachers to embrace new ways of doing things. For secondary schools, the literature expressed considerable support for changing the comprehensive nature of high schools ( Lachat, 2001; Lee & Ready, 2007; Owen et al. 2002; USDOE, 2001 ). Thus, the shopping mall concept of high school may no longer be adequate for the accountability demands of improving the performance of all students. Considerable emphasis was placed upon ninth grade as a critical point for students success in high schoo l. A school within a school innovation in the form of ninth grade
18 academies has received considerable attention for the potential of improving both the academic and social aspects of schooling for secondary students. Considering the related issues of und erachievement and dropping out of high school, the reconstruction of ninth grade holds a prominent position in high school re form (Fulk, 2003; Neild, Stoner Eby, & Furstenberg, 2008; Patterson, Beltyukova et al., 2007). At the forefront of redefining the conventional high school design is the multifaceted position of school leader who must step into the role of director of change. The Evolving Role of School Leadership The conception of school leadership is not easily defined. The work of school leaders i s generally understood to be contextually based and embedded within social relationships (Leithwood & Riehl, 2005). Leithwood and Riehl (2005) purported that school leadership can be summarized as the work of mobilizing and influencing others to articula te and achieve the schools shared intentions and goals ( p. 14). Generally, t he role of school leader has been grounded in the basic practices of building vision and defining directions, developing personnel, creating school culture, and managing instruc tional practices (Day, 2007). However, if the work of school leaders is coupled to improving schools then directing change emerges as a central theme in the routine work of school leadership ( Calabrese, 2002; Elmore, 2004; Foster, 2005; Fullan, 1993). Razik and Swanson (2001) contended that leadership is not definitive but elusive and constantly changing, reflecting an ever changing society and world (Razik & Swanson, 2001, p. 61). Subsequently, the role of school leader has continued to evolve as th e complexity of the educational terrain has changed. An increasingly multifarious environment requires that school leaders think beyond simple improvements to the
19 existing school structure but to re conceptualize it and change it in some significant ways (White Smith & White, 2009, p. 277). In pursuit of such change, school leaders are often faced with multiple demands for accountability from political, professional, and market arenas. At the forefront of the pressures for accountability is t he NCLB leg islation of 2001 that provides formal oversight of the annual performance of all students. As a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), this federal legislation has established a prescribed set of standards and guidelines for the accountability of states and districts. Schools and, subsequently, school leaders have been charged with the responsibility of documenting their students progress in achieving federal proficiency standar ds as set forth by NCLB requirements. The e nsuing environment places pressure up on school leaders for producing expected student outcomes The mission of educating all students to a prescribed set of federal standards requires that school leaders build capacity f or collective change. In fulfilling a transformational role, leaders concentrate on the collective efforts of the school community (Marks & Printy, 2003). Bolman and Deal (2003) concurred with the importance of a cohesive internal commitment. At a given moment, an organizations structure represents its effort to align internal processes with the external environment, while simultaneously resolving an enduring set of organizational dilemmas.(p. 92). Conflict with internal coherence and organizational expectations may occur in large compr ehensive high schools as suggested by Deb ray, Parson, and Avila (2003). While personal attitudes may color members stances regarding organizational issues, school
20 leaders acknowledge differences and work to bridge the gap between individual concerns and the coll ective good of the organization (Calabrese, 2002). Abelmann et al. (1999) described the effect of personal attitudes in spanning the divide between external and internal expectations of schools. External accountability systems assume a world in w hich all schools are held to the same expectations for student performance. The world that school administrators and teachers see, however, is bounded by their particular settings, by their own conceptions of who they are, who they serve, what they expect of students, and what they think of as good teaching and learning (p. 1). In the absence of a cohesive internal struct ure, accountability for student learning becomes an aggregate of individual judg ments (Abelmann, et al., 1999). In schools that develop a mutual set of expectations, strong leadership exists with a clearly defined vision of learning for all students and teachers engaged together in developing school st rategies to support this vision (Abelmann et al., 1999). For organizational change, Kocha n, Bredeson, and Riehl (2002) proposed that the principal must become a transformative leader who reflects upon and engages in personal growth and development and facilitates the develop ment of the faculty and staff (p. 299). Through becoming a model le arner, the principal extend s value to individual change and personal growth. In so doing, leaders and other school members mutually construct new understandings and meanings. As noted by Leithwood (2007), educational leaders must be open minde d to new wa ys and ideas and willing to engage with staff in considering new possibilities.
21 Rather than singular efforts, t he interdependence of school leaders and teachers is a key factor in developing enduring organizational change (Bolman & Deal, 2003: Marks & Prin ty, 2003; Stein & Spillane, 2005). In leading change, contemporary leaders cannot rely on a hierarchal form of leadership. School leaders must function less as a supervisor of teacher competence and more as a facilitator of teacher development. Subsequently, a collaborative relationship develops that is built upon expertise and knowledge rather than formal position. A sense of collective responsibi lity and a shared focus on improvement contributes to teacher commitment, openness to innovation, a nd professional involvement (Stein & Spillane, 2005). As stated by Calabrese (2002), twentyfirst century leaders, to survive and thrive, need to understand change and the change process to further the aims of the organization (p. 22). Change unfolds i n an organization as a process of interactional events (Fullan, 2007; Goodson, 2001; Hall & Hord, 2001; Hord, 1987). As developed by Hord (1987), the process of change is dependent upon the concerns and level of implementation of users. As a nonlinear p rocess, change is represented by six interactional phases or sub processes: assessment of organizational needs ; exploring options for new innovations; adoption of innovations ; initiation of innovat ion use ; implementation of innovations into regular practice; and institutionalization into the systemic structure of the organization (Hord, 1987). Even though well established in the literature as a standard for guiding change, Hords process of change was criticized as too br oad and deficient in providing specific actions for change facilitators to negotiate difficulties in the implementation phase (Anderson, 1997). Although in agreement with the conceptual foundation of Hords model, Fullan (2007) streamlined the process int o a three component model of
22 initiation, implementation, and institutionalization with eac h of Hords beginning elements subsumed under initiation. Both Hord and Fullan s models acknowledge d the centrality of leadership in facilitating the pathway for sc hool reform Navigation through this process requires a responsive leader who assesses, intervenes, and monitors the progress of an innovation within the organization (Hall & Hord, 1987, p.16; Hall & Hord, 2001). Hall and Hord (2001) stated that t here a re varied approaches to leadership, and different people lead in different ways. Further, there are patterns and similarities among those leaders who do make a difference and among thos e who do not make a difference ( p. 127). Leaders who endeavor to make a difference in their schools often take on the important role of change facilitator. Hall and Hord (2001) offered three approaches for the facilitator role. In the role of initiator of change, the school leader has a clearly defined vision of the school and high expectations for all aspects of the school. In accordance with the notion of the transformational leader, initiators place an emphasis on channeling others t oward a different conception of school practic e. Operating in the role of manager of change a leader focuses on efficiency and proceeds cautiously with any new changes. The school leader who acts as a responder to change refrains from a ssuming the lead for change and relies on others for guidance a nd advice concerning new practices. While each change facilitator style provides a frame of reference for leadership behaviors, not all leaders will fit neatly into a single category and each may not engender commitment to change from others in the same m anner (Hall & Hord, 2001). As leaders for change, f acilitators set direction and create the spark for change ( Hall & Hord, 2001; Hord, Stiegelbauer, & Hall,
23 1984). Facilitation of change is not restricted to those in formal leadership positions but may be distributed to others within the school organization. From the results of a Principal Teacher Inte raction (PTI) Study conducted by the Development Center for Teacher Education at the University of Texas at Austin, Hord et al. (1984) reported on the collaborative nature of change The study focus ed on the effect of leadership distributed among nine principals and nine support staff members in regards to the number of interactions with teachers during reform implementation. In reviewing the extent of collaborative interactions, results revealed th at while the principal provided supporting structures for change, those who occupied shared roles of change facilitator also had significant influence in the cha nge process (Hord et al., 1984) While progress monitoring and professional de velopment activities were typically provided by the principal, i ndividualized interactions at the classroom level were more prevalent for those sharing leadership activities. However, t he merit of these findings was limited by the self reporting format of data collection and the absence of descriptive or demog raphic information for participating sch ools or individuals. In summary, t he current distinction of being organizations of continuous improve ment places school leaders in the position of change leaders. Contentions arising through accountability policies are not relegated to the back burner of concerns, but are viable issues that form the parameters for innovation. For contemporary models of school leadership, t he role for change is woven throughout the complex framework of leadership. School leaders are charged with building a collective vision, developing individuals, and creating a culture for change.
24 While responsibility for improving schools may rest largely with the position of school leader, teachers hold equally important positions in contributing to change (Calabrese, 2002; Fullan, 2001). In building a cohesive attitude toward change school leaders mu st promote an environment conducive to shared responsibi lity for school reform. Consequently, expectat ions for change serve to significantly influence the behaviors and responsib ilities assumed by those leaders at the helm of schools engaged in reform eff orts L eadership in S chool R eform In light of the generally accepted notion that leadership is important for effective organizational performance, a logical assumption follows that leadership is also a critical component for successful change. While the success of innovation depends great ly on the implementers, the influence of leadership is critical for success (Yu et al., 2002). In the literature, the transformational dimension of leadership has been reported to be instrumental in navigating the process of change (Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006b). Transformational leadership During the past two decades, successful s chool reform ha s been largely linked to the effects of transformational leadership (Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; 2006b). This leadership form has been dubbed as a powerful stimulant for improvement ( Leithwood, Jantzi, & Steinback 1999, p. 37). Building upon the earlier model of leadership, Leithwood and Jantzi characterized transformational leadership under three broad categories that are further defined by nine components (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006b, p. 205). Setting Directions
25 o Building a school vision o Defining specific goals and priorities o E stablishing high expectations Developing People o Promoting intellectual stimulation o Providing individualized support o Modeling appropriate practices and values Redesigning the Organization o Creating a collaborative school culture o Fostering participative decision making o D eveloping community relationships These co mponents provide multiple dimensions that serve to transform followers to greater attainment of organizational goals. The transformative dimension of leadership has a high regard for emotions, values, ethics, standards, and longterm organizational development Such leaders inspire others toward the collective good (Northouse, 2010). Northouse (2010) described transformational leadership as a valueadded approac h in the development of organizational members. While the end goals of change may represent the expected outcomes of employee efforts transformational leaders invest in and develop others to extend performance beyond the expected results. The characteristics of leaders who transform others have been d elineated into four subsets of attributes and behaviors ( Avolio & Bass, 2004; Northouse, 2010; Williams Boyd, 2002). Idealized Influence denotes visionary leaders who have high moral and ethical standards and are respected and trusted by followers. Inspirational Motivation describes leaders
26 who inspire others to a sh ared vision and to achieve high e xpectations for the common good of the organization. Intellectual Stimulation characterizes leaders who promote creative and innovative thinking in others. Indiv idualized Consideration rep resents leaders consideration of members personal needs and provision for a supportive organizational environment (Northouse, 2010). These aspect s of transformational leaders have been linked to outcomes of greater job satisfaction, effectiveness, and effort in employees work performance (Avolio & Bass, 2004). Leith wood and Jantzi (2006a) investigated the influence of transfor mational leadership on teachers and their pra ctice during a period of literacy and numeracy i nitiatives in English. Two surveys, one for literacy and one for numeracy, were used to acquire information from 2,290 teachers in 514 primary schools. The reliabilities for each survey were reported using Cronbachs alpha as 0.90 and 0.88 respectively. An analysis of the results produced correlation coefficients that indicated a significant relationship for transformational leadership and teacher work setting (r= 0.71, p< 0.01) and for transformational leadership and motivation (r= 0.56, p< 0.01). A sma ller effect was found for teacher capacity (r= 0.41, p< 0.01) and only a modest effect was reported for classroom practice (r= 0.17, p< 0.01). The results were quite similar for both the literacy and numeracy programs. Herold et al. (2008) expanded the investigation of the interactive relationship of transformational leadership and employee behavior to include change leadership. Although specific change behaviors of leaders have been explored in prior research, there has been a limited focus on linking change to the broader construct of leadership style. Data for the study was derived from 343 employees from a cross section of 30
27 organizations in the southeastern United States. Two separate surveys were administered to employees producing 176 Personal Change Surveys and 167 Organizational Change Surveys. Scale reliability was adequate for both surveys with a Cronbachs alpha range of 0.83 to 0.94. The studys findings did not reveal any significant correlation between transformational and change leadership. However, the results did show that transformational leadership, rather than change leadership behaviors, and commitment to change, were both significantly and positively related, thus lending support for transformational leadership in an environme nt of change (Herold et al., 2008). Generalizations were improved by the cross sectional representation from different corporations and the use of alternate surveys to reduce the common methods variance for leadership behaviors. However, the use of multip le change scenarios decreased the capacity of this study to gauge the strength of transformational characteristics. Although the aforementioned studies underscored the positive benefits of transformational leadership, Yukl (1999) cautioned that transforma tional leadership may be insufficient for all aspects of organizational effectiveness. In conjunction with the prominent position that transformational leadership occupies in the literature, a different perspective connects both transformational and trans actional leadership as working in concert with each other (Leithwood et al., 1999; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; Oke, Munshi, Walumbwa, 2009). Rather than a single leadership domain, change facilitation may be served through multiple forms. Although transformational and transactional leadership are distinct leadership styles, they should be seen as complementar y rather than polar opposites (Oke et al., 2009, p. 66) Each form operates through
28 fundamentally different ways. Transactional leadership m ay well serve organizations that follow predictable patterns of operation whereas transformational leadership may be better suited to the instability of chan ging organizational norms (Oke et al., 2009). While transactional leaders negotiate commitment prim arily through rewards and sanctions, transformational leadership is driven by a common system of values and expectations. Leadership for change has been predominately linked to transformational behaviors with limited attention given to a connection between leadership style and the innovation process (Oke et al., 2009). However, in a study of innovative business leaders, Oke et al. (2009) found that transactional leaders advance innovation through identifying new standards and prescribing the necessary orga nizational performances to attain them. Innovations may arise in a top down or bottom up fashion within an organization. I n either instance, the innovation process requires that individuals accept the risk to disrupt the status quo and operate outside the boundaries of conformity. Transformational leaders inspire and empower members to take such risks for initiating change. These leaders guide new behaviors and a ctions through a moral concern for doing what is right for the school community. Transforma tion al leadership and moral purpose. Fullan (2001) posited that pursuit of different ideas and pathways of action should be guided by moral purpose. Moral purpose means acting with the int ention of making a positive difference in the lives of employees, customers, and society as a whole (Fullan, 2001, p. 3). A moral intent acts to bind the actions of all organizational members as a collective commitment to a path of change. Rather than s imple compliance, shared commitment acts to stimulate, inspire, and motivate individuals (Fullan, 2001, p. 118).
29 Hand in hand with moral purpose, the ethical behavior of school leaders emerged as important for school change (Dantley, 2003; Starratt, 1991) Starratt (1991) expressed that ethical behavior emanates from concerns of justice, critique, and care. Moral leaders are inclined to critique the standard norms of operations and challenge the status quo. A sense of justice drives leaders to affirm th e fairness and equality in school processes and practices. The ethic of care guides leaders in fostering relationships that are based upon trust and respect. Moral purpose sets the context; it calls for people to aspire to greater accomplishments (Fullan, 2001, p. 117). In essence, the ethical and moral intentions of leaders who champion new ideas are instrumental to gaining the commitment of others to the work for change. Murphy (2006) expressed a similar concern for the moral and ethical nature of change. He contended that leadership for change should be ethically anchored and environmentally sensitive. Educational environments that support a market based governance of s chools maintain the necessity of innovation, risk taking, and proactive orientation in serving the needs of students. Given the notion of continual change in schools, processes and practices open up as avenues for inquiry and critical analysis. Consequent ly, the aggregated response of community members can produce multiple voices for what is right and fair. In leading for change, school leaders arouse others sense of moral purpose for a commitment toward improving their schools. For a strong internal sc hool structure, Elmore (2004) envisioned a proactive leader who fosters a sense of collective responsibility through mutual decisions about improving the condition of schools.
30 Transactional leadership In cont rast to the focus on a collaborative r elati onship among leaders and followers, the transactional leadership domain establishes leaders control through reciprocal actions between leaders and followers (Northouse, 2010; Williams Boyd, 2002; Bass, 1990). The focus of transactional leaders is on the accomplishment of assigned tasks and mechanisms of reward for high employee performance (Bass, 1990). Contingent Reward and Management by Exception are significant components of transactional leadership (Avolio & Bass, 2004). T hese elements of leadership are devoted to setting standards for measuring performance and prescribing actions in response to the results of employee actions respectively. Tran sactional leadership assign s and communicate s expectations for the role of followers (Pieterse, Knippenb erg, Schippers, & Stam (2010). Although t he role of transactional leaders h as not been favorably depicted in connection with organizational change Oke et al. (2009) suggested evidence to the contrary. In a study of innovative business leaders, Oke et al. (2009) found that transactional leaders advance innovation through identifying new standards and prescribing the necessary organizational performances to attain them. While transformational leadership focuses o n the development of organizational members, transactional leadership is attuned to assigned organizational roles and task completion (Williams Boyd, 2002). In the implementation phase, attention to the technical management of procedures and practices may be best addressed through transactional leadership (Oke et al., 2009). The routines of transactional leaders are peppered with negotiated steps (Calabrese, 2002). Rather than a proactive role for organizational development, t ransactional leadership is typically reactionary to organizational needs. Progress toward
31 change is often attained through incremental accomplishments that are acquired by leadership interventions and transactions with followers. Transactional leaders typically accept the necessit y for change rather than constructing a moral orientation to pursuing organizational improvement (Calabrese, 2002). Passive/avoidant leadership Passive/avoidant leadership occupies an area of leadership along the continuum of a full range of leadership behaviors developed by Avolio and Bass. While transformational and transactional leadership rely upon interactions with subordinates, a passive/avoidant style is characterized by delays of action, absence and indifference (Sosik & Potosky 2002, p. 213). Often termed as a laissezfaire style of leadership, individuals tend to relinquish leadership responsibilities associated with the management of organizations. Minimal interactions with subord inates have led to a reference of a hands off leadership style. Laissez faire is often associated with less productive for ms of leadersh ip and hence, decreased organizational performance. Limited direction at the onset of employee tasks along with little feedback at the conclusion of tasks leaves much to the discretion of organizational members. When difficulties arise in organizational functioning, Laissez faire leaders refrain from taking action until compelled to do so. Consequently, an attitude of n onleadershi p is evident in those individuals who refrain from taking the helm for managing organizational functions and tasks (Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008). Leadership Outcomes. L eadership behaviors have been noted to significantly contribute to followers extra effort, satisfaction, and perceived leader effectiveness ( Avolio & Bass, 2004; Masood, Dani, Burns, & Backhouse, 2006; Pod sakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). More positive aspects of these three outcomes
32 have been reported in connection to transformational leadership (Avolio & Bass, 2004). Transformational leaders raise the level of moral consciousness about what is important to achieve thereby impacting the output of others toward t hose ends. Under this domain of influence, followers put forth c onscientious e ffo rts beyond the obligatory tasks to improve organizational performance. Moreover, the manner of trust and confidence that transpires between transformational leaders and foll owers reinforces the propensity for such altruist behavior aimed at the greater good. Similarly, effectiveness of leadership practices as well as the subsequent level of sati sfaction experienced by subordinates is reflective of the manner of leadership practice. An uncertain environment of change necessitates a spectrum of leadership practice that encompasses both group and i ndividual capacity for change. Furthermore, transformational leaders are proactive and an ticipate a fluctuating level of motivational behaviors from followers. Such leaders maintain a responsive mode of behavior to accommodate variable conditions while maintaining the vision and a supp ortive structure for accomplishing expectations. Hence, g reater effectiveness and satisfaction ensues through the work of transformational leaders who competently bridge the span of needs for both organizational and individual performance (Avolio & Bass, 2004). In summary, the multidimensional nature of leader ship necessitates that school leaders balance several roles. A core of leadership formed around moral and ethical purposes demands that practice s be infused with these intentions Subsequently, these types of leaders are better situated to transfer these values into the work of building a collective focus on improving the education of all students. Both external and internal expectations for improvement place pressure on school lea ders for change In meeting
33 the demands for resolving organizational needs, transformational leaders focus on building a collective purpose while transactional leaders operate through positional authority over individual tasks and goals As the primary in strument in unpacking the complex process of change, school leadership has the responsibility for engendering the commitment of staff toward the goal of school reform. Transformational leadership appears in the literature as well suited to this purpose. Working within the context of changing conditions of schools, transformational leadership negotiates the terrain of change by setting directions, developing people, and redesigning the organization. Working through these principles, transformational leade rs engage with others in the work for school reform. In a collaborative partnersh ip for change, leaders effectively influence teachers satisfaction and tendency to exhibit extra efforts. Cons equently, each of these contributing leadership factors unders cores the importance of securing the commitment of teachers to sharing the vision for change Commitment to Chang e in School Reform If schools are to make continuous improvement to meet targeted federal goals in the evaluation of school progress then school leaders cannot rely on transient innovations. While leadership occupies a pivotal role in re conceptualizing the structure and pr actice of schools, teachers also must embrace new aspects of their work. Hence, the commitment of teachers to change efforts is a significant consideration in the long term implementation of reform initiatives. Indicators of commitment Individual commitment to change holds a prominent position in the supporting mechanisms that facilitate organizational change ( Fedor et al.,
34 2006; Herold et al. 2008; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) of fered a general definition of commitment as a mindset that engages individuals in a specific set of actions relative to a given objective. From a business perspective, organizational commitment has been studied in relation to factors affecting individuals employment conditions within the organization. These influential factors have been categorized as affective commitment continuance commitment and normative commitment ( Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Parish, Cadwallader, & Busch, 2007). An employees affective commitment concerns his desire to remain attached to the organization, continuance refers to the perceived cost of separating from the organization, and a sense of obligation to remain with the organization is represented by normative commitment. I n tangent with a general view of commitment to the organization, a more inclusive perspective of commitment emerged in relation to a prescribed target such as organizational change Borrowing from their general definition of commitment, Herscovitch and Meyer contextually formed a more definitive explanation of the commitment to change as a force (mindset) that binds an individual to a course of action deemed necessary for the successful implementation of a change initiative (p. 475). In a multilevel qu antitative study of the interrelationship of the factors for organizational commitment and the level of commitment to change, Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) developed a set of indicators for commitment that were more conduc ive to change than predictors of or ganizational commitment. To allow for specificity to change, three accommodations were integrated into the survey design: a desire to support the change based upon its potential benefits to the organization (affective commitment); an
35 acknowledgement of costs or sanctions in failure to support change (continuance commitment); and a feeling of obligation to support the change (normative commitment) (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002, p. 475). These two researchers contended that the levels of commitment are distinc tive from one another and that behavioral responses can be associated with the different levels. Using a Likertscale survey, first deve loped by Meyer and Allen in 1991and modified by the researchers, a three part investigation was conducted. The first phase of the study was conducted as a laboratory simulation with 272 undergraduate students responding to hypothetical situations concerning workplace experiences with change. Reliability of scale items was determined through high Cronbachs alph a values. The results showed that affective and continuance were negatively related (r= .05, p<.01) whereas normative commitment correlated positively with affective (r= .26, p< .01) and continuance (r= .38, p< .01). In the second phase of the study, 15 7 nurses completed a threepart survey: the previously cited commitment to change questionnaire using a simulated experience; a survey of commitment to change in reference to an actual experience; and a survey to measure organizational commitment. This portion of the study was designed to determine the degree of individuals behaviors that ranged from resistance to compliance to promotion of change. The results provided evidence of significant correlation s for affective, continuance, and normative commitm ent to compliance (r= 0.29, p< .05; r= 0.17, p< .01; r= .34, p< .05 respectively). However, the results indicated that only affective and normative commitments were related to behaviors stronger than simple
36 compliance. A comparable study with 108 nurses validated the initial findings (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). In general, Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) demonstrated that each component of commitment t o change was distinctive and offered predicative value in regards to behavioral support for change. While this seemingly exhaustive study was conducted on behavioral factors for commitment, several limitations were noted. Generalizations were restricted by the self reporting nature of the surveys and the use of only one profession, albeit a predominately female one. A low return rate of questionnaires compounded by a mean age of 54 and an average of 21 years of experience for respondents suggested the potential for selection bias. Fedor et al. (2006) built upon the earlier study of Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) in looking at the antecedents and consequences of commitment to change. Using an instrument developed by Herscovitch and Meyer, 191 individuals were surveyed to determine the relationship of fit with vision, employee manager relationship, job motivatio n, and role autonomy with affective, continuance, and normative commitment to change. These factors were then analyzed in conjunction with anticipated ou tcomes of employee learning, performance and degree of implementation. Employees in a university tran sportation department that had undergone a succession of changes were the focus of the study. The reliability of the measures was validated by Cronbachs alp ha values that ranged from 0.84 to 0.99. The results of the study showed that affective and norma tive commitment was positively related to both fit with vision and employee manager relationship. Affective commitment was positively related to job motivation
37 and role autonomy while a negative relationship was found between role autonomy and continuance commitment to change (Fedor et al., 2006). In regards to employee outcomes, affective commitment to change was related to individual learning, implementation success, and improved performance whereas only individual learning was significantly linked with normative commitment. The results of this research verified the earlier work of Herscovitch and Meyer s (2002) which brought commitment to change to the forefront of considerations in organizational change. In a later study, Herold et al. (2008) advised that In the context of change, commitment goes beyond just positive attitudes toward the change to include the intention to support it as well as a willingness to work on behalf of its successful implementation (p. 347). Although affective commitment wa s connected to a more positive attitude toward change, a question also followed regarding the sufficiency of such an outlook over the course of longterm implementation (Fedor et al., 2006). Several limitations existed for this study. A marginal return r ate of 32% factor ed into a restricted generalization of the findings. Also, t he use of a single industry which has a substantial part time workforce rather than longterm employees may have implications f or selection bias. Furthermore, multiple construc ts examined through a singular method of study prompts a concern for common methods variance. Challenges to commitment. For the process of change, commitment to individual change is recognized as crucial for su ccess (Hord, 1987; Hall & Hord, 1987; Hall & Hord, 2001; Fullan, 2007). In developing personal commitment to change individual concerns center upon the effects of change related to self, task, and impact (Hall & Hord, 2001). Self concern denotes a persons knowledge about an innovation
38 and how this change can impact the individuals established work routine. Attention to the management issues of implementing a new practice represents a concern for task. A concern for the impact of change induces an assessment of the evaluation of its effectiveness. Goodson (2001) dismissed this interpretation of individual concern by Hord with the contention that her approach failed to attach personal meaning to change and framed the indiv iduals concern with in a tactical approach to new practices. Fullan (2007) suggested that individual concerns often arise in the initiation and implementation phases. The process of initiation can generate meanings of confusion, commitment or alienation, or simply ignorance on t he part of participants and others affected by the change(Fullan, 2007, p. 82). V iewed in this lig ht, individual commitment to change may develop in relation to the personal concerns that arise at the prospect of engaging in new initiatives. In a revie w of data collected over a span of thirty years for eight United States and Canadian secondary schools, Skerrett and Hargreaves (2008) focused on the developing practices of eight schools undergoing significant shifts in their student populations. Since f our of the eight schools had undergone more dramatic changes in demographics and were considered to be more innovative, the researchers narrowed their review to four. Using data from 112 teacher and administrator interviews along with school observation re ports and school records, the researchers considered the level of reform in teachers practices as demographics changed. Some teachers reported a change to include multicultural curriculum while other teachers remained unchanged in their alignment with tr aditional curricular and instructional methods. Responses were not consistent across time and place and were
39 inclined to be discretionary. Newer teachers and those in specialized areas such as special education and English as a Second Language were more apt to embrace change (Skerrett and Hargreaves, 2008). Even though surface features changed, minimal changes were observed in regards to teachers pedagogy. Thus, the study revealed that challenges to commitment to change can occur through the personal b ias of individual educators. Confining the analysis to select schools narrowed the implicati ons of the results for broad scale change. Also, greater emphasis on repetitive interviews with the same participants excluded the impressions of less seasoned st aff members. Further evidence of the influence of educator bias on change development was provided in a study by McKenzie and Scheurich (2008). An elementary school that experienced a significant shift in its student demographics sought to improve the classroom practice for diverse groups. McKenzie and Scheurich (2008) exam ined the combined efforts of an elementary school principal and faculty to determine effective teaching st rategies for an increasingly diverse student population. For the school popula tion of 800 students, 85% were Black and Hispanic with 83% economically disadvantaged, and a mobility rate of 35%. Individual interviews, focus groups, classroom observations, and journal entries were used over the period of a year to investigate how teachers viewed the adoption of new practices to better serve their population. The results revealed a theme of defensive attitude toward school reform emanating from biased notions about student characteristics and negative perceptions of external accountabi lity. The implications derived from this research led the authors to emphasize the importance of teachers position regarding change initiatives (McKenzie & Scheurich,
40 2008). The limiting features of this study included a singular focus on one elementary school without a cross sectional representation and no information regarding the number of teacher participants or related teacher demographics. In addition, the interactive nature of the researchers with participants may have contributed to some degree of researcher bias. Antecedents of commitment. Banduras theories of motivation and se lf efficacy contribute to the likelihood that teachers will commit their efforts to change initiatives. Motivation denotes an evaluative orientation toward the future regarding the need for action while self efficacy represents a personal belief about ones capability for change (Leithwood et al., 1999). Both psychological processes operate through the indi viduals personal goals, capacity beliefs, context beliefs, and emotional arousal (Leithwood et al., 1999, p.136142). Personal goals develop in relation to the individuals perception of a gap between an existing state of circumstances and a desired stat e. These goals are more apt to stimulate commitment to some action when new goals appear doable and progress is in short term increments. While new expectations typically identify a general consensus of desired levels of improvement, individual commitment arises from the internalization of these purposes into personal objectives. Little meaning is attached to the larger organizational goals unless accompanied by personal ownership by individual members (Leithwood et al., 1999). Accomplishing personal goals is partly under the direction of the self belief about ones professional or personal capacity to accomplish targeted goals. Judgment about ones abilities may be affected in various ways that include interactions with role models
41 and other professionals perceived as experts. However, a prominent influence occurs through the feedback that teachers receive on the performance of their work. Feelings of accomplishment or inadequacy impact ones beliefs about subsequent performance on similar tasks (Bandu ra, 1993; Leithwood et al., 1999). In conjunction with ones feelings regarding individual capacity, context beliefs contribute to the efforts for change. Context beliefs are related to teachers perception of their working environment. Previous experien ce with support for change initiatives may affect the beliefs about future possibilities. School conditions that include the availability of human and material resources for teachers may affect their reactions to potential changes. Yu et al. (2002) noted the importance of school conditions on teacher commitment to change in a study of 2,941 Hong Kong elementary teachers that completed a 113 item survey to determine the related effects of transformational leadership, school conditions, and teacher commitme nt. Using a linear regression analysis, 62% of the variance in teacher commitment was explained by school conditions while transformational leadership explained just 11% of the variance. Despite a significant correlation coefficie nt (r=0.328, p< 0.01) be tween the composite variables of teacher commitment and transformational leaders, context beliefs demonstrated the highest value for a single variable (Yu et al., 2002). Limitations to this study existed in the sole use of elementary teachers who were pre dominately female and unique cultural conditions that may have influenced attitudes about educational conditions and leadership. A cautionary note is also necessary regarding the possible indirect influence of leadership through school conditions. Perceptions of school conditions along with beliefs about self efficacy may ignite positive or negative emotional responses from those expected to engage in change
42 activities. Negative feelings toward reform efforts may reduce teachers motivation toward change and hamper teachers beliefs about their personal efficacy for successful implementation (Leithwood, Steinback, & Jantzi 2002). Thus, emotional investment in new initiatives may be a necessary ingredient for a genuine commitment to their success. In summary, individual commitment and leadership have both been shown to have significance for change implementation. While distinct from the construct of organizational commitment, the commitment to change operates from a similar theoretical framework. Indicators for commitment that are noted as affective, continuance, and normative, represent varying levels of attachment to the organization. In a similar fashion for change these three indicators have been ass ociated with a set of behaviors that are positioned on a continuum with resistance and championing at opposite ends and compliance as the middle point (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). The role of transformational leadership has been highlighted for its positive association with organizational and change commitments. Transformational leadership and specific change behaviors were noted to be separate in their behavioral characteristics a nd function in leading for change in organizations. Interacting with the influence of leadership, the factors of personal goals, capacity beliefs, context beliefs, and emotional arousal have been suggested as concerns for employee commitment. Thus, these peripheral elements contribute to the complexity of the relationship between transformational leadership and teacher commitment to change. A current environment of accountability holds expectations for student achievement at all levels of schooling. How ever, the complex nature of high schools may contribute to unsuccessful outcomes for some students upon passage into high school.
43 Consequently, careful attention should be directed toward the type of leadership required to engender the commitment of teachers for improving student performance at the entry point of ninth grade. Implementing High School Reform for Ninth Grade Thus far, the literature has drawn from descriptions of a current schooling environment that is pervasive with the expectations of acco untability for student learning along with providing a learning environment for excellence and equity. While the research has not defined only one recipe for educating all students within these contexts, the attitude remains that school leaders must impro ve the organization for successful student outcomes. At the secondary level, the organizational unit of the high school structure has gained an increased focus in regards to reducing the complexity of the traditional high school especially at the ninth grade level. Constructed to accommodate large numbers of students, the traditional high school arose through the political, social, and economic developments during the early twentieth century. The goal for social cohesion and a need for an industrialized w orkforce combined to produce a high school as a comprehensive structure designed to accommodate these issues. Both curricular commonality and diversification were dual objectives for educating a large diverse number of students (Wraga, 1998). During the latter part of the twentieth century, a shift to more global awareness and competition brought a returned scrutiny of the effectiveness of the American high school. A world market and rapid technological developments placed a focus upon knowledge rather t han skill based employment opportunities. A divergence of purpose emerged with a combined emphasis on the cognitive and practical aspects of education. Given the reality
44 of the pressure of accountability and persistent demands for excellent and equitable structures in diverse schools, concern persists in the literature for reducing the complexity of the organization of high schools ( Lachat, 2001; Owen et al., 2002; USDOE, 2001). A compilation of research provided evidence that small schools tend to produc e higher student achieve ment, lower dropout rates, less violent events, higher rates of participa tion in school activities, and more positive feelings about self and school (Darling Hammond, 2006, p. 643; Lachat, 2001; Lee & Burkam, 2003; USDOE, 2001 ). Sti efel, Swartz, and Ellen (2006) also proposed a relationship between student performance and school size in their examination of fifth and eighth grade students achievement scores in New York Cit y from 2001 to 2002. The results of a study by Patterson, Hale and Stessman (2007) revealed school structure to be a consideration i n students failure to persist in high school. Using the organizational theories of Schein and Argyris as the c onceptual framework, the study examined a popula tion of 1600 students through interviews, student focus groups, and document review. Although the high school had originally served a White middle class student population, the school had experience d a significant increase in its immigrant population, a rise in the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch status and a continual decline in the graduation rate with a rate of 53.6% in 2003. Rather than a reliance upon student characteristics to explain the dropout phenomena, this study turned attention to sc hool conditions. The results suggested that the bureaucratic structure of the school as indicated by standard scheduling methods, conventional course offerings, and Carnegie unit requirements interfered with the development of a culture that was responsive to the particular needs of a diverse student
45 population. Patterson, Hale et al. (2007) stressed the importance of reexamining the expressed mission of the school in relation to the actual practices that are in place. However, the reliance upon one high school and the use of purposive sampling limited the generalizations that can be determined from the results. Lee and Burkam (2003) contributed to the consideration of the relationshi p between school conditions and students dropping out of school on a broader scale with 3,840 students within 190 high schools. Using student and school data from the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study, the researchers considered school organization, academic structure, and student teacher relationships. School orga nization was defined by school size and type. A multilevel analysis was employed for comparisons between school characteristics. The outcome of the study indicated that schools at one Standard Deviation (SD) above the mean for the number of mathematical courses offered below algebra indicated an increase of 28% (p< 0.10) in the likelihood of dropping out. In contrast, positive student teacher relationships reduced the odds of dropping out with a reported 86% (p< .01) for medium schools. This effect of r elationships was not supported in the results for large schools with a population of 16002500. In considering school size, the dropout rate for medium schools was the most modest. A 300% increase in the dropout rate was reported for large schools whil e small schools experienced a slightly higher rate than medium sized high schools (Lee & Burkam, 2003). However, the strength of the findings was limited considerably by the dated nature of the information used for analysis. While reduced size may appear to be a panacea for the issue of students failure to succeed in school, the decline of the larger comprehensive high school may be related
46 more so to prevailing social and political attitudes than actual deficiencies in the model (Wraga, 1998). In conjuncti on with the reorganization of schools into smaller units, four other elements have been noted as critical to the success of schools that exhibit high performance: well qualified teachers that also function as collaborative professional learners; personalization through a team format; a common curricular core; and supporting structures for struggling learners (DarlingHammond, 2006, p. 645). S chool within aschool reform model Contrary to the chronicled development of the large comprehensive high school, a more recent trend advocates the belief that smaller organizational units provide greater advantage to both students and teachers. This benefit diverges into two aspects of schooling: social and academic (Lee & Ready, 2007). While NCLB demands regulatory monitoring of academic progress, the social dimension necessitates attention from the basis of professional and personal responsibilities that are defined internally by the sch ool. Given the dual aspects of education, attention to size is not sufficient but a reconfiguration of procedures and practices must also accompany the practicality of a smaller learning environment. Without one definitive model of smallness, the resulting menu of choices offers different reorganizational options (Lee & Ready, 2007; USDOE, 2001). House Plans are the most nonspecific of the smaller school options. Course offerings and student scheduling can be specific to the unit but extracurricular a ctivities typically continue to exist within the larger school structure. A distinctive component for high school freshman may be formed under this unit as a transitional unit into high school.
47 Academies are typically themed based units that are specialized in their curriculum but remain dependent upon the larger school for other operational needs. Magnet Schools are new autonomous units rather than a reorganization of existing large structures. This unit typically offers a specialty curriculum in the form of a cluster of courses. School within aSchool arises from the restructure of the larger school. These smaller schools continue to share space with other components of the larger school but have considerable autonomy concerning its school processes. The e xtent of reformation of the traditional high school depends heavily upon the investment into the change process by those with viable interests in the plan. Personal commitment may vacillate in regards to the depth of the conversion. The familiarity and a ssurance of traditional ways, the demands of time for new ways teaching, or the loss of individualistic work habits may act to draw teachers back into routine practices (Lee & Ready, 2007). School within aschool as a community Scaling up an innovation requires systemic change in the way of doing things ( Giles & Hargreaves, 2006; Strike 2008 ). Reorganization efforts that are diffused through district or state policies require clarity and accommodation with existing school policies. Agreement on central ideas and beliefs about the change is a necessary step in developing a common language regard ing new ideas (Strike, 2008). A subsequent query emerges into the meaning of size. One conception may be in relation to the numbers of students while a different notion entails
48 an autonomous entity with collective vision and well defined social interactio n patterns. In essence, a paradigm shift occurs regarding what is necessary to become a small school. A form of community emerges that conveys what is important for learning and who is accountable in the school ( Lawrence, 2006; Strike, 2008). Personal and professional accountability coalesce around what is internally important to teachers and leaders in contrast to externally mandated policies. Thus, where large scale reforms fail to incorporate teachers senses of passion and purpose, such changes wil l actually face major problems of sustainability and generalizability. External direction and definition of large scale reform does not ensure internally impleme nted and sustained improvement (Goodson, 2001, p. 49). Conversations around authentic teaching and assessment dominate in contrast to the technical aspects of school (Strike, 2008). The norms that students perceive about the school are embedded in their social and cultural environment (Berk, 2003). Understandings about community and the accompan ying beliefs are shared through interactions and conveyed between school members. Shared values and commitment create a bond between individuals from which a sense of care develops (Strike, 2008). This sense of care extends to concern for students emoti onal and academic needs. If students are held to a standard of excellence, then they must have a clear understanding of what that entails. The traditional factory model of high school can be highly stratified and focused on student management rather than on community development (Darling Hammond, 2006). Students view of their place within the social and academic layers of the high school environment is closely linked to the perceptions they have formed about the community. Thus, c ommunity
49 becomes a pot ential antidote to the alienation and disengagement that can be experienced by students in schools (Strike, 2008). For ninth grade students, the development for community portends well for their performance in high school. Issues of ninth grade success. The ninth grade is normally a students introduction to high school and begins the process of earning credits toward graduation. For some students, the move from eighth to ninth grade may present concerns and challenges that they may not be adequately prepared to understand or to manage. The move by students into a new school setting may prove to be problematic for high school fres hman when faced with forming new relationships with peers and adults along with challenges of more rigorous curriculum and academic standards. If students are unable to cope with these issues, then they may disengage from school resulting in poor patterns of attendance, behavior, and grades (Fulk, 2003; Neild et al., 2008; Pat terson, Beltyukova et al., 2007). Ultimately, failing ninth grade and eventually not graduating can impact students future earning potential and quality of life (Allensworth & Easton, 2005). Academic issues. In moving from eight to ninth grade, difficulties that students encounter can be grouped collectively into the areas of academic, procedural, behavioral, and personal relationships (Morgan & H ertzog, 2001; Queen, 2002). According to Roderick and Camburn (1999), students who fail a course in the first semester of 9th grade are likely to continue to perform poorly. Further evidence of this troubli ng prediction of poor student performance outcom es was reported by the Consortium Chicago School Research group in a study of Chicago schools from 1999 to 2004. The study reported that 60% of students who acquired at least one semester grade of F may fail to graduate in four years. Additionally, only 28% of the students who were retained
50 in the freshman year graduated within four years. Patterson, Beltyukova et.al. (2007) reported that approximately one third of the ninth grade students in the United States failed to succeed well enough in ninth grade to be promoted to tenth grade. An earlier prediction of this problem indicated the retention to be as high as 40% (Morgan and Hertzog, 1998) One outcome from t he Chicago research group was the development of an indicator for ontime graduation of students entering the n inth grade. A student who earned at least five credits for promotion to tenth grade and did not fail more than one semester of a core academic subject was considered to be on track. The study indicated that 83% of students who were identified as ontrack by the end of their freshman ye ar graduated within four years (Allensworth & Easton, 2005). In considering factors that might affect ninth grade success, Allensworth and Easton (2005) found that eighth grade achievement scores were not a clear predictor of students performance in their freshman year. They reported that over 40% of the students that entered ninth grade with low standardized test scores performed well enough to be considered ontrack by the end of ninth grade. Additionally, 25% of those students who entered the ninth grade with high test scores failed to be on track by the end of that school year. A limitation in the study existed by a strict reliance upon aggregate sets of data without consideration of factors outside of performance reports. While the use of longitudinal data lent confidence to the results of this study, the concentration on primarily urban schools in one geographic area placed some limitations on generaliz ing the results across other types of localities. The Chicago Cons ortiums research also elaborated on additional factors that may affect students success in the freshman year (Allensworth & Easton, 2005). One
51 potential condition that arose in relation to student performance was the manner of academic coursetaking by students. Courses that are characterized by low teacher expectations often have fewer resources, and students whose test scores relegate them into such classes often invest less time and m ay be less engaged in their learning ( Cammarota & Romero, 2006; Conchas, 2001; Marks, 2000; Oakes, 2005). Florida provides an example of the confluence of testing outcomes and academic course taking. Students are categorized according to their performanc e on the reading, math, and science portions of the F lorida Comprehensive Assessment Test (F CAT ) Non proficiency in reading is indicated by the labels Level 1 and Level 2. Subsequently, students that are designated with a low performing status of Level 1 are channeled into remedial reading classes while students achieving a Level 2 may be consigned to the same circumstance or enrolled in courses embedded with reading remediation ( Florida K 20 Education Code, 1008.25). A review of the results of the nint h grade reading assessment in Florida for 2009 indicated that 53% of the students performed at nonproficient levels. Differentiating these results for race and ethnicity, 41% of White students were considered low performing in comparison to 74% of Black students and 61% of Hispanic students (FCAT State Demographic Report, 2009). Given these testing outcomes, remediation may be entwined with the pattern of academic courses for ninth grade students in Florida. Along with responsibility for testing outcome s, NCLB has included the accountability for high school to improve graduation rates. The failure to persist in school often affects students of color or poverty to a la rger extent than white students (Amrein & Berliner, 2002; Borg, Plumlee, & Stranahan, 2007; Dorn, 2003; Heck &
52 Mahoe, 2006). The National Center for Education Statistics (2005) reported dropout statistics for Whites at 6% while the dropout rate for Blacks was 10.4% and 22.4% for Hispanics. Consequently, high schools experience pressure for higher rates of gr aduation. While high school attendance may have originally been a custodial issue, the value of the high school diploma has risen in terms of educational and economic potential. The reality of attaining a high school diploma under the c onditions of a highstakes test was investigated by Borg, Plumlee, and Stranahan (2007). Using Floridas high school exit exam, the (FCAT), researchers examined the relationship between student performance on the tenth grade test and the probability of obtaining a high school diploma in Duval County, Florida. The data was obtained from the tenth grade test results for 5,205 students in 2000 for comparison with the graduation requirements set for those students in 2002. A regression analysis of the FCAT reading and math scores determined that characteristics of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic level were factors in determining student graduation success. Using a probit model for analysis, the results showed that an Afr ican American student had a 34% probability of passing the test the first time and a Hispanic student had a 54% probability in comparison to a W hite student with a 65% probability. In a similar manner, a student from a family earning $10,000 or less had a 30% probability of passing the first time compared to a 60% probability for students from more affluent backgrounds (Borg et al., 2007). These results for race and ethnicity were influenced by using an average sample of each while holding school characte ristics
53 constant. Therefore, factors outside the single arena of academic performance may work to impact students progression through high school. Social issues The social set ting of ninth grade students can influence the level and quality of success in high school. As adolescents move from the middle school to the high school they may experience uncertainties and concerns associated with a new, unknown environment (Morgan & Hertzog, 2001). Using a survey of eighth a nd ninth grade students in four Georgia school districts, Morgan and Hertzog found that students expressed anxieties about ninth grade, including interactions with upperclassmen and the possibility of being bullied, encounters with difficult or unfriendly teachers, and learning the physical organization of the new school. T he often impersonal nature of the large comprehensive high school may present unique challenges for some individuals. Students entering the ninth grade may encounter valid concerns in r egards to changes in peer relationships, school structure, and academic requirements (Cauley & Javanovich, 2006; Potter, Schlisky, Stevenson, & Drawdy 2001). Locating classes, learning rules and procedures, and establishing relationships with peers and te achers comprise typical activities that may elicit student anxieties. Subsequently, feelings of stress may ensue from an environment that places less emphasis on the learner and more on efficiency and abstract subject content (Cauley & Javanovich, 2006). The high school experience can be especially challenging for those students possessing weaker social or cognitive skills. Validation of these concerns is reflected through the continuum of development from childhood to adulthood. Capabilities for abstract thought and more complex verbal expressions may not by in sync with the timing of high school entry. Furthermore, peer group acceptance and encounters with conflicting value
54 systems may also present potential difficulties for stu dents entering the larger social setting of high school (Potter, et al., 2001). Patterson, Beltyukova et al. (2007) attested to the critical nature of relationships in high school. Both teacher student and student student associations were considered imp ortant determinants for high school success. Unless students have a good experience in the freshman year, their level of motivation and academic engagement may diminish resulting in declining levels of academic achievement ( Fulk, 2003; McIntosh & White, 2006; Neild et al., 2008 ; Patterson, Beltyukova et al., 2007). The combined challenges of social and developmental changes along with more rigorous academic requirements may result in a decline in high school success. However, the academic and social experiences of students may not develop along paths that are lined with equitable opportunities. Equity issues. In Florida, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests (FCAT) in reading, math, and science has produced a syste m to categorize students by achievement levels according to their scores. As a consequence, such testing outcomes have resulted in a system of student identification for remediation and academic interventions ( Florida K 20 Education Code, 1008.25). However, differentiated courses or tracks of study often have greater implications for the academic development of nonWhite students or those in poverty ( Burris & Wellner, 2005; Lee & Burkham, 2003; Oak es, 2005; Rubin, 2003; Rubin & Noguera, 2004). A stu dy of reform efforts to dismantle these tracks for high school was conducted by Burris and Wellner (2005) in a diverse suburban New York school district. As an initiative to improve performance on the New York State Regents exams for core subjects, a comm on curriculum was implemented for ninth grade English and social
55 studies in 1999 with biology added in 2000. De tracking for subsequent grades did not occur until 2003. In 2001, the passing rate on the biology exam rose from 48% to 77% for Blacks and inc reased from 85% to 94% for Whites in ninth grade. More modest gains were found in the overall passing rate for the 1999 cohort that graduated in 2003 with increase of 19.3% to 26.4% in the passing rate for Black and Hispanic students while the passing rat e for White and Asian students improved from 58.7% to 66.3%. One high school in the district was reported as an exception to these statistics with a dramatic increase of 32% to 82% in the passing rate for Blacks and Hispanics (Burris & Wellner, 2005). Alt hough limite d information was provided regarding students characteristics, the general findings were supportive of de tracking. Thus, notions for equitable opportunities as well as for positive social and academic experiences may prompt the consideration for designing n inth grade in a manner conducive to these conditions Ninth grade redesign The literature revealed a host of strategies purported to improve the high school experience for ninth grade students. One prevailing suggestion was to organize the collective group of high school freshmen into a separate academy or house arrangement. The creation of smaller school units fosters the feeling of a small school atmosphere thus promoting a collaborative teach ing community and more personalized attention on students (Oxley, 2005). Jett, Pulling, and Ross (1994) recommended less rigidity in school processes to include a fluid master schedule in which instructional groups can be changed as needed throughout the year in order to maximize learning opportunities for students. Introductory activities, such as student and parent meetings and high school visits, occurring during the eighth grade year were
56 suggested as methods to ease the transition process. Advisory periods, peer mentoring, and extended academic periods during the day were additional recommendations to improve the conditions for high school freshmen ( Cauley & Jovanovich, 2006; McPartland & Jordan, 2001). One prominent recommendation for academies was the formation of teacher teams (Jett, et al., 1994; McPartland & Jordan, 2001; Oxley, 2005). In a smaller structured setting, teams of teachers can build better relationships, thus facilitating the identification of at risk students for appropriate interv entions (Oxley, 2005). The development of an inclusive environment is an important element for incorporation into the academy structure to benefit students from all racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds (Oxley, 2005). According to Ilg and Massucci (2003), a smaller school setting improves the achievement level for minority students and for those from a lower socio economic background. With the greater flexibility that can be provided through an academy, teachers can make instructional decisions regardin g the most appropriate learning experiences for students (Oxley, 2005). Thus, the academy seeks to improve student achievement by placing the student at the center of the small school design. Using a case study method, Patterson, Beltyukova et al. (2007) explored the potential advantages that a separate academy may have for new ninth grade students in one high school of 1300 students with approximately 67% White, 33% nonWhite, and 35% economically disadvantaged. A pilot program was initiated during the 20032004 school year for 43 freshmen students that were assigned to a team of five teachers. A comparison group was established with 146 freshmen students that were scheduled into classes in a traditional manner. While students were randomly assigned t o the academy
57 or control group, the qualifier for placement in either one was enrollment in Algebra I. The teacher team had a common planning time to discuss and plan common strategies for academic and behavioral issues. Periodic social events were planned for the group of 43 and parent involvement was encouraged by all five teachers. A survey of participating freshmen students revealed that a substantially greater number of academy students expressed experiencing respectful and fair treatment from their teachers than nonacademy students. Interviews with students also indicated that the academy eased the process of forming new friendships while some students indicated that the academy hindered forming relationships outside the academy (Patterson, Beltyukova et al., 2007). Although the qualitative results were promising, no statistical information was provided on the survey results other than percentages for individual survey items. Using two way ANOVA tests, quantitative analysis was conducted to compar e suspensions, attendance, and grade point averages (reported on a scale of 0 to 4) for academy and nonacademy students. A significant main effect was reported for differences for the in school suspension [ F (1, 189) = 16.3, p< .001] while none were found for out of school suspensions. A significant effect was also determined in attendance of academy students [ F (1, 189) = 4.6, p< .05]. E ffect sizes were reported as small for suspen sion and medium for attendance, however, no actual values were given. No significant differences in grade point averages were reported between groups for English and math. The academy group performed better than the control group in social studies, 1.67 and 1.23 respectively, while the control group had a higher grade point a verage of 1.79 in science compared to the academy group of 1.09.
58 Although grade point averages were not strikingly different for most subjects, the percentage of academy students that were promoted to tenth grade was approximately 75% compared to 59% for the control group. The promotion status and positive social benefits provided encouragement for a smaller school setting for students entering the often more impersonal and complex environment of high school (Patterson, Beltyukova et al., 2007). However, the strength of the findings was diminishe d due to a focus on one high school and the exclusion of freshmen not enrolled in Algebra I also limited the generalizations of the results. In summary, the reorganization of high schools is concerned with more than size. Rather than only changes in the physical dimension, different internal practices are also a necessary feature for successfully redefining schools into smaller units. Central to the innovative approach of creating a school within a school is th e leadership that facilitates the process and the commitment of others to that vision. Collectively, a sense of community emerges that is constructed in accordance with the development of internal commitment for successful student outcomes. An overall understanding is present in the literature regarding the significance of the freshman year. The longterm success of high school students appears to depend heavily upon the ninth grade experience. Course failure in the freshman year has been presented as a significant indicator for high school completion. Along with academic challenges, ninth grade students may also encounter social discomfort. Both academic and social issues may impede students progress toward graduation and thus, significantly hinder their future economic success. Smaller school units, te aming of teachers, transitional activities, peer mentoring, advisory periods, and extende d learning time have
59 been purported to improve the performance of ninth grade students. Consequently, educators may be prompted to reorganize the ninth grade structure and to redefine practices in an attempt to produce more high school graduates Although the front end of change may gain the initial investment of leaders and teachers sustained school reform is dependent upon maintaining committed efforts over the longterm. Sustaining High School Reform for Ninth Grade I mplementation of school reform c oexist s alongside a histor ically conservative system of education. Thus the orga nization of change itself is susceptible to the pull of conventionality and coherence. Fullan (1993) expressed that prolonged change requires a fundamental shift of mind (p. 3). This different mindset for change imparts some resiliency to intervening forces that may disrupt continued implementation of reform strategies. Such forces arise f rom within the operational elements of change or from conflicti ng expectations imposed by outside entities. In either instance, coalescence of these internal and external influences with a determined mindset for purposeful change is impor tant for maintain ing school reform. External influences. Ninth grade reform represents a s econd order layer of school reform. Change of this magnitude reach es to the deeper layers of school structure and practice (Hall & Hord, 2001). Sustaining this level of reform requires that change strategies become ingrained int o the fabric of ordinary school routines ( Datnow, 2005; Datnow & Stringfield, 20 00; Goodson, 2001) Contentions to on going implementation may arise through new poli cies or regulations that dampen the initial determination for change However, reform that stands t he test of time emanates from a shared purpose and a mutual interchange of knowledge and professional skills (Datnow, 2005). Copland
60 (2003) also affirmed the importance of capitalizing upon the expertise of those intimately involved in change to produce longterm improvements. Thus, leaders and teachers develop an interdependent relationship in addressing the uncertain conditions that may accompany school reform. An investigat ion by Datnow (2005) examined internal and external influences on the sustainability of a Comprehensive School Reform model in thirteen elementary schools from 1996 to 2000. Each school was experiencing a changing policy environment and was regarded by the district as moderate to exemplary in their reform efforts. Information was drawn from interviews with school and district staff over the four year period along with observations reports. Varying levels of longevity for the reform were reported for the schools in the study. Datnow (2005) noted the lack of continued commitment by staff members, a shift in focus to new district programs, and continued difficulties with implementation as conditions that contributed to reform expiration. One consistent reported comment was the secondary emphasis placed on the reforms in all schools in comparison to the primary focus of preparation for state tests. The findings contributed to a better understa nding of how schools navigate through waves of new policies while attempting school reforms. Even though almost half the schools retained viable reform efforts, the results were not completely reliable given the purposeful sample of schools with histories of moderate to high levels of change implementation. T he interpretation of results was limited by a lack of descriptive detail for both schools and individual participants. The effects of a volatile policy environment were further supported through the work of Giles and Hargreaves (2006) on the sustainability of reform in schools
61 experiencing pressures of standardization. Selecting from the same set of United States and Canadian schools as noted earlier, Giles and Hargreaves (2006) conducted a cross case analysis of data for three innovative high schools from the original study. Data was obtained during a four year period through semi structured interviews with teachers and administrators, on site observations, and documents of school meetings. In thei r analysis, Giles and Hargreaves noted that the policies for standardization had chipped away at each schools reform efforts although one school had remained more resilient than the others. The researchers noted that shifts in the dynamics of school conditions may produce a regression back to the conventional school. Pressures to comply with new district and state policies also placed hardships on schools to maintain their status as innovative. Two of the high schools succumbed to changing conditions within the school such as attrition of personnel committed to change and passive attitudes toward a changing environment. Adaptability through a culture of continuous learning was noted as a signifi cant influence for one school which maintained a steady course for implementation (Giles & Hargreaves, 2006). While the case study method offered depth to the review of reform sustainability, generalizations were restricted by the small number of schools. The prolonged interaction of researchers with the three schools suggested some measure of bias in the reported results. Hanson (2001) referred to new external forces pressing upon an organization as an environmental shift. Schools that are constrained by the technical aspects of managing the organization may tend to cling to familiar routines and practices. A sense of nostalgia for what has proven safe and reliable in the past may restrain leaders and teachers from seizing innovative opportunities. Hanson noted the subsequent reliance upon the status
62 quo as they become forces for stability rather than change (Hanson, 2001, p. 648). Conformity to the conventional school reduces the risks for legitimization and social inclusion for school members. Wh ile appearances may indicate some perfunctory attempts at new practices, the safety and reliability of schooling norms may dampen the impetus for change. Tubin (2009) termed this shift back to conventional norms as a regression toward the mean (p. 404). Given that change initiatives are developed within the existing confines of institutional policy and structure, these boundaries to new endeavors may overshadow and restrict the full development and expansion of an innovation. Internal influences. Concerned with the distributive effects of change, Fedor et al (2006) contended that change may produce disproportionate effects on different members of the organization. Thus, unequal outcomes of change may introduce added difficulty in moving beyond simple compliance. Conflicting circumstances that disrupt the continuum of change may require different facets of leadership (Bolman & Deal, 2003; Bonner, Koch, & Langmeyer, 2004). Bolman and Deal (2003) offered a composite framework of leadership as a means of manag ing internal dilemmas and conflicts The s tructural frame operates with an eye on the governing rules, policies, and procedures of the s chool. In contrast, the human resource perspective is concerned w ith subordinates needs and skills. Issues of power and control among organizational members are managed by the political dimension while the symbolic frame draws from the norms and values that d efine the organizations culture In reference to change, th e structural frame reduces confusion through the communication and alignment of existing practices and procedures to new initiatives.
63 The human resource frame focuses on training and the involvement of stakeholders throughout the change process (Bolman & Deal, 2003). Negotiation of conflicts between groups that support or oppose change is a necessary function of the political frame of leadership. Changing always creates divisions and conflict among competing interest groups. Successful change requires an ability to frame issues, build coalitions, and establish arenas in which disagreements can be forged into workable pacts (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 378). Working through the symbolic frame, leaders facilitate transitional events that ease individuals from existing conventions to future possibilities (Bolman & Deal, 2003). School leaders that rely on the structural aspects of change without regard to the human resource frame may fail to gain the personal commitment required to initiate and maintain inn ovation. The value that transformational leaders attach to the human resource frame emerges through the aspect of leadership that seeks to develop and orient followers toward a vision of change. Internal shifts in school conditions often produce a regre ssion back to the conventional school. For example, attrition of personnel and passive attitudes toward a changing environment alter the focus on change. Thus, this framework provides multiple modes of responsive intervention to intervening factors in t he progression of change. Bonner et al. (2004) examined the sustainability of an elementary school inclusion mod el through the lens of the four frame model of leadership. Using interview s and observational data, researchers determined difficult ies in each frame for maintaining reform over the long term. Tensions emerged in the structural aspect of the initiative during a system of formalized problem solving meetings. Unresolved conflicts between general education and special education personnel presented a problem in the political
64 framework. Although positive results in the form of collaborative support were identified for the human resource area, a lack of cohesion around a common vision emerged as a prevailing theme (Bonner et al., 2004). The researchers proposed that the absence of teachers personal commitment to change goals or emotional investment in change contributed to a lack of cohesive support for the inclusion model (Bonner et al., 2004). The methodology of the study was not well articulated and the narrow focus on one school restricted the generalization of the results. However, Bolman and Deals four fram e model offered a strategic approach to delineating and resolving distractions to the long term course of school reform. In summary, waves of reform have historically washed over the educational terrain through the impetus of nation al or local concerns ( Goodson, 2001, Fullan, 2007; Hall & Hord, 2001). The launching of Sputnik, which sparked a focus on space exploration, and successive decades of events such as desegregation and the publication of The Nation at Risk, produced widespread efforts at educational change. Current interests in school reform have been largely generated by political concerns for accountability. The expanse of innovation efforts have ranged from policy development for large scale reform to isolated individual classroom improvements. The current distinction of being organizations of continuous improvement places school leaders in the pivotal posit ion s of change leaders. The role for change is subsumed within an already highly complex framework of leadership. Contentions arising through accountability policies are not relegated to the back burner of concerns, but are viable issues that form the pa rameters for innovation. Consequently, school leadership that embraces change must
65 remain cognizant of the human resource frame in developing the commitment of others toward reform efforts for their schools. Summary of Literature Review T he reform of ninth grade is driven by several interrelated compone nts. Issues of academic and social conditions p rovide cornerstones in the quest for providing an optimal ninth grade environment. As s chools strive to meet NCLB standards for student performance they m ust also attend to many aspects of the high school experience for ninth grade students. The attainment of a high school diploma is generally accepted as an important achievement for students. School conditions such as size, scheduling practices, and cour se offerings have been indicated as important in the persistence of students toward successful completion of high school. Accountability for student outcomes translates into school reform efforts that require both leadership for change and the commitment of teachers for successful implementation. By engaging in an interactional proces s for change, school leaders facilitate and monitor the progress of innovation while attending to the structural, political, symbolic, and human aspects of the school. Inattention to any of these four components can hinder progress at the implementation or sustainability level. The ethical and transformative dimensions of leadership may convict others to create the space on their plate for commitment to an internal system for change. For the secondary level, a prevailing discontent with the comprehensive high school model has prompted considerable interest in smaller schools. Smaller units may be carved out of the traditional school structure to create a format more conducive to the academic and social world of students at the dawn of their high school years. Although
66 smaller schools may imply a reduction in size, an accompanying commitment to related changes in conventional practices is also necessary. Small school struct ures have been related to improved academic performance, positive social relationships, better attendance and behavior, and increased teacher and parent involvement. While school leaders may direct the goals of change, these efforts do not occur in isolat ion. The commitment of teachers is also necessary in steering the school toward new practices or processes. Given the importance of the freshman year, the redesign of ninth grade occupies a considerable place of importance as an innovation for improving high schools. Implications for Research The reduction of high schools into smaller units of learning is one i nnovation that has been pursued to improve student achievement at the secondary level. A recent policy directed toward the implementation of a school within a school plan for each ninth grade wit hin one school district presented an opportunity to explore the relationship between school leadership style and the level of teacher commitment existing in those high schools. Data collected through a survey of ninth grade teachers regarding commitment to change and percept ions of leadership was used to inform each of these constructs pertaining to those working for large scale change in schools. The current distinction of being organizations of continuous improvement places school leadership in the critical position as leaders for change. External policies of accountability that are uniformly applied across schools run the risk that implementation will not be consistent across all venues of school leaders and teachers. Furthermore, external mandates project the notion that educators are accountable for improving schools. Given that the expected outcomes of school reform depend heavily upon those
67 responsible for change, the human aspect of implementation is important to understand. In particular, the relationship between school leadership and the commitment of t eachers to change has important implications for successful impl ementation of school reform efforts
68 Chapter Three Methods Organization of Chapter Three The purpose of Chapter Thre e is to describe the methods utilized in the investigation of the st ated purpose and research questions of this study. This chapter presents the study design, the research instrumentation, the process of data collection and analysis, and a summary of the methodology. Chapter Three is organized into eleven sections: an in trodu ct ion ; research questions; profile of academy implementation in the study; research population; design of t he study; design of the instrument; data collection; data analysis; researcher role and ethical responsibilities; and a summary. Problem and Purpose of the Study The review of literature on change offered considerable evidence of the complex task of school reform ( Elmore, 2004; Fullan, 2007; Goodson, 2001; Hall & Hord, 1987; 2001; Hord, 1987). Investigations into the antecedents that reflect personal motivation, attitude, and commitment have provided insight into the influence of individual members on organizational change (Smylie & Evans, 2006). Systems change when enough kindred spirits coalesce in the same change direction (Fullan, 1998, p. 143). Under the constant pressures for improving school performance and the subsequent federal evaluation of schools, change is a pervasive condition for many schools. Individually and together, leadership and teacher commitment to change operate to a dvance or restrict the advancement of school reform (Datnow & Stringfield, 2000;
69 Fullan, 2007; Hall & Hord, 2001; Herscovitch & Myer, 2002; Hord et al., 1984). Thus, the literature purported that both the leadership at the helm of change and the commitmen t of followers are necessary to move forward with change. While a substantial portion of the research on change focused on the behaviors of leaders during the change process, school leadership and teacher commitment to change have not been fully explored in understandi ng the phenomenon of school reform. The purpose of this study was to describe teachers commitment to change and to examine perceptions of school leadership in relation to a purported model of transformational leadership for change within the conditions of ninth grade reform. Research Questions The following research questions guide d this study: 1. How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, continuance, or normative types of commitment to change in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 2. What are teachers perceptions of the school leadership style in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 3. What is the correlation between commitment to change and school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 4. What is the correlation between commitment to change and subscales of school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school?
70 5. To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Profile of Academy Implementation in the District In accordance with the purpose of this study, a n examination of teachers commitment and asso ciated school leadership was undertaken during the systemic reform of ninth grade in one Florida school district. Centrally located, this district serves approximately 90,000 students with a reported 63% poverty rate as defined by free and reduced lunch status. In 2009, 14 district high schools reported a ninth grade population of 6,552 students. The population data was disaggregated as 52% White, 22% Hispanic, and 21% Black with the remaining 5% represe nted by Asian, Indian, and Multira cial classifications. As evidenced, the graduation rate shows yearly improvements over a recent three year period. Nonpromotion rates have decreased in contrast to fluctuating dropout rates (FLDOE) Table 1 District Pro file for Graduation, Dropout, and Ninth Grade Nonpromotion Rates Date Graduation Dropout Non promotion 2007 70.6% 4.2% 12.1% 2008 73.6% 3.8% 11.0% 2009 74.7% 4.0% 10.2% Note. Graduation, dropout, and non promotion rates are represented as percentages. Non promotion values are for ninth grade.
71 Leadership for academy implementation Devised to address the root problems of inadequate high school outcomes, a central Florida school district undertook a district wide reform of ninth grade A considerable investment of time and resources was directed toward the development of a small scho ol model within the larger school setting. Conversations that focused on the rationale for this pl an flowed along a n interactional pathway between the Office of Secondary S chools and high school administrations While 20092010 was earmarked for full impl ementation of ninth grade academies, planning and transitional strategies were implemented prior to this time period Formulated as a top down initiative, the burden for large scale implementation was ultimately shifted to building principals. Plans for the daily management of ninth grade academies were determined by each school Different school level personnel including a dministrative deans, assistant principals, and master teachers filled supportive roles to assist teachers and monitor students. In support of this initiative for ninth grade, the district assigned funding to the construction of new ninth grade buildings at five high schools while the remaining schools were required to devote an existing structure to the academy until future constr uction could be evaluated. Construction of the five new ninth grade buildings was completed for the 20092010 school year. A district partnership with the International C enter for Leadership in Education provided opportunities for the engagement of school administrators in workshops on strategies targeting the improvement of ninth grade. Emanating from these professional development opportunities emerged a comprehensive list of strategies that had proven successful at high schools designated as academy model schools by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Consequently, the conceptual basis for ninth grade
72 academy development was derived from this national research on successful high school s. As primary building administrators, princip als hold responsibility for improvement efforts in their schools. Principal development and evaluation is based largely upon the Florida Principal Leadership Sta ndards ( 2006). Key among these standards are the vision and d ecision making elements that wer e critical to creating a school withina school. District expectations prescribe d the centrality of the principal in all aspects of school improvement efforts including the comprehensive planning for ninth grade academy implementation. Furthermore, inclu sion of student performance into the annual evaluation of school principals places further emphasis on successful school improvement efforts Even though daily management roles m ay be dispersed among support personne l a hierarchal system places the princ ipal at the forefront o f directing implementation of ninth grade academies. Academy structure and practices. In May 2009, the school district acquired a 1.3 million dollar grant through the Helios Education Foundation to provide resources for acad emy implementation This infusion of funding combined with a special interest by the International Center for Leadership in Education on small school reform has b rought attention to the district as a potential model for wide spread change at the high school level. Training by the International Center for Leadership in Education was conducted for teachers in 2010 and a resource guide Reinventing Ninth Grade outlining best practices for n inth grade transition, was provided to each high school Equipped with this manual of research based prac tices and procedures, a common set of operations were devised for academies. This unitary plan defined f our essential
73 areas for implementation : a) a separate area of the school designated for ninth grade academics; b) interdisciplinary teacher teams with common planning; c) an academic intervention plan for struggling students; d) articulation between middle and high schools. Teacher p articipat ion in academies was determined through voluntary participation or administrative placement. O f t he 14 high schools, nine used both methods of placement while five relied only upon administrative placement. Consequently, ninth grade teachers in this Flor ida school district comprise d a significant study population to provide perceptions of commitment and leadership during the process of large scale reform Research Population Following the purpose of this study, selected ninth grade teachers in 14 high schools in one Florida school district were targeted for this study. The core practices designated for academy implementation place d increased emphasis on the position of ninth grade teacher and p rescribed behaviors or tasks beyond those of the conventional role of content teacher. This reform effort across one grade level was well suited to t he purpose of this study given that the reform of ninth grade into a school within a school model was a pervasive change throughout the district. A districtwid e model of change satisfied the necessary conditions of this research for an aggregate study of leadership and teacher commitment. A purposive sampling method w as employed to determine the research participants. This manner of sampling allow ed the resear cher t o identify participants that were best qualified to provide information for the intended purpose of the study ( Creswell, 2005; Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990). The nature of this study that focuse d on a
74 single reform was better served by a purposive sample of the population than a random portion. The selected ninth grade teachers also represent ed a convenience sample since the researcher is employed in the same district. Three criteri a w ere used to determine the purposive sample: 1) the participant must be a currently employed or retired high school teacher; 2) the participant must be currently or previously associated with a freshman academy; 3) the participant must be willing to participate in the study. A database of 320 current and previous ninth grade academy teachers was acquired from the district coordinator of ninth gra de academies by this researcher. Based upon these criteria, respondents to the survey evidenced a range of demographic information regarding gender, age, years of experience, ethnicity, and recent school grade. Eighty four individuals reported gender. Females comprised the largest group of respondents that chose to identify their gender with 57 (67.9%) females in comparison to 27 (32.1%) males. The primary age group for the respondents was 3039 with 23 (27.4%) of the 84 participants in this age range. Fourteen (16.7%) respondents indicated under 30 as their age with 19 (22.6%) in the 4049 range, 18 (21.4%) in the 5059 age group, and 10 (11.9%) indicated the 60+ age group. In regards to ethnicity, 74 (90.2%) of the 82 individuals who responded to the demographic items were White nonHispanic. Three (3.7%) individuals indicated Black as well as three (3.7%) selected Hispanic. No respondents indicated Asian as their ethnicity, and two (2.4%) selected the category of other. The average number of years of teaching experience was indicated by 82 participants. Forty one (50%) reported having under 10 years of experience Thirteen (15.9%) respondents indicated the 1115 years of experience while five (6.1%) reported
75 having1620 years of experience, 10 (12.1%) were in the 2125 years of experience range, and 13 (15.9%) indicated 26+ years of experience. The final demogr aphic item referred to the most recent state evaluation of respondents schools as indicated by the letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F For the 84 individuals completing this item, the prevailing response was a grade of C by 52 (61.9%) respondents. Sixteen (19%) individuals indicated a most recent school grade of B while 14 (16.7%) individuals selected a recent school grade of D and two (2.4%) indicated a school grade of A Design of the Study A d escriptive and correlationa l research design was used in thi s study concerning school leadership and teacher com mitment to change and the resulting relationship between them under the conditions of ninth grade reform The value of the descriptive approach lies in the depiction of how a sample population feels or s ays about a topic (Gliner & Morgan, 2000). F requencies, percentages, variability, and central tendency measures are typically used to describe the results of descriptive research. The correlational research design is commonly linked to the descriptive method and allows the exploration of relationships between the identified variables of a study (Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990). Taken together, these design models provide the potential for more depth of analysis. Descriptive designs often employ the use of a survey instrument as a means of obtaining data. Creswell (2005) noted that surveys have proven to be a useful instrument for describing trends, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors of t argeted samples or entire populations. Surveys have been used for educational purposes since the implementation
76 of a national survey of education al systems in 1817. Thereafter, t he use of surveys in the social sciences grew during the early part of the n ineteenth century. More recently, state and federal organizations have funded survey research as a means of acquiring largescale response to topics of social or political interest (Creswell, 2005). According to Fowler (2009, p. 1), The purpose of the s urvey is to produce statistics, that is, quantitative or numerical descriptions about some aspects of the study population." The data emerging through these descriptions form a foundation of information about a given population. G overnment, business, and social institutions rely upon surveys as one means of access to data that is essential for their continued operation. In education, Thomas (1999) noted that educators can use surveys to gather information about many different topics and for many differe nt reasons (p. 1). Such information can lay the foundation for subsequent educational decisions. While other methods such as direct observation may serve the same ends, surveys can produce information on large numbers of individuals in an efficient and low cost manner. Consequently, a survey provides an appropriate means of gaining the perceptions of school leadership and teacher commitment to ninth gra de reform from approximately 320 ninth grade teachers across 14 high schools in one district. Self rep orted information obtained through the survey may be the most feasible method of acquiring subjective information such as perceptions or beliefs (Gonyea, 2005). Two contributing effects, social desirability bias or the halo error, may exist to influence s elf reporting. Social desirability bias occurs through the respondents desire to appear in a favorable manner to the researcher whereas the halo error refers to an
77 individuals general perce ption of a topic that emerges through a uniformity of responses across multiple question s on that topic. However, social desirability bias is more of a concern in faceto face interviews with considerably less influence in s elf administered questionnaires (Gonyea, 2005). Survey information can typically be drawn through personal or telephone interv iews, mail surveys, and online methods of data collection (Alreck & Settle, 2004; Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990). Personal and telephone interviews have the advantage of developing a conversational relationship between the resear cher and respondent. However, the intensive amount of time and money that can be involved in either of these methods may be prohibitive to surveying large numbers in multiple localities. While mail surveys typically provide little interaction between the researcher and participants, they do offer the researcher a means of reaching a large sample of the population and allows respondents more time to consider their response s (Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990). On line surveys have the distinct advantage of an inexpensive means of survey distribution and rapid response format with accessibility to a large population sample (Schaefer & Dillman, 1998). Thus, cost effectiveness and an efficient means of distribution t o a large number of individuals contributed to the choice by this researcher to implement an internet based survey for teacher perceptions of school leadership and commitment to ninth grade reform. Researchers must also be aware of potential drawbacks to the survey method of investigat ion. One related concern for this method is the response rate. In a review of studies that explored the different modes of survey distribution, Schaefer and Dillman (1998) reported that multiple contacts of participants was the most significant factor for
78 increasing the rate of return. Personal written contact was another recognized strategy for improving the response rate. Both mail and online surveys that are accompanied by a personalized introductory note tend to improve the likelihood of completion and return (Schaefer & Dillman, 1998). While random nonresponse may have only a negligible effect, the failure to return by a segment of the targeted population that has similar characteristics or attitudes in connection wi th the survey objective can create conditions for more biased results (Alreck & Settle, 2004). Subsequent to the consideration for an appropriate return rate, this researche r developed an initial email invitation to ninth grade teachers for their particip ation with a follow up email reminder at the end of one week The size of the sample should be large enough so one does not fail to detect significant findings ( Gliner & Morgan, 2000, p. 158). In regards to the statistical value of the research finding s power is one preliminary consideration to support the s ignificance of the results An increase in sample size can increase the power accordingly. A power value of 0.80 is typically recommended to determine an appropriate sample size for most educational research. For a power of 0.80 and an effect size of .50, a sample size of 8 5 is genera lly recommended ( Cohen, 1992) The validity and reliability of the measuring instrument must also be factored into the design of the study (Alreck & Settle, 2004). Validity provides assurance that the instrument measures the topics that it was constructed to assess. For reliability, researchers must determine that the instrument produces consistent responses without random errors. Both validity and reliability lend credibility to the reported results of research studies. To enhance both validity and reliability, Fowler (2009) recommended
79 careful attention to the construction of survey questions. Good questionnaires maximize the relationship betwe en the answer recorded and what the researcher is trying to measure (Fowler, 2009, p. 87). In accordance with consideration for both validity and reliability, s urvey items for this study were derived from instruments established through prior published r esearch. Design of the Instrument The instrument in this study was designed in the form of a survey to measure teacher commitment to change and perceptions of school leadership style in connection to ninth grade reform. The identification of measurable objectives constitutes the initial component of survey design (Fowler, 2009). To gain insight into teachers understanding of school leadership, the instrument served to el icit their perceptions of attributes of school lea ders. As defined by Robbins and Judge (2008), Perception is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment ( p. 139). Following these perceptions, the behaviors of individual s develop from a basis of their constructed reality. As individuals encounter new experiences, different perceptions may develop accordingly. Thus, a changing work environment associated with school reform provides a background for exploring how teacher s perceive the leadership of schools that are undergoing reform initiatives. In order to accomplish the dual purpose of investigating ninth grade teachers perceptions of leadership and their commitment to the reform of ninth grade, two separate published measurement instruments were merged The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire 5X (MLQ 5X) was obtained to categorize leadership as transformational transactional, or passive avoidant and to measure leadership outcomes. The MLQ 5X
80 contain s 45 items to m easure several areas of leadership: 20 items for transformational leadership; 8 items for transactional leadership; 8 items for passive avoidant leadership; and 9 items for outcomes of leadership. The information below identifies each leadership characteristic, the related subscale, and the number of survey items included for each subscale (Avolio & Bass, 2004). This survey instrument provided an aggregate view of school leadership style and leadership outcomes across a district setting of the im plementation of ninth grade reform. A separate section of the survey instrument was designed to measure the affective, normative, and continuance levels of commitment to change. Each of these commitment levels respectively conveys the extent to which indi viduals believe (a) that the change is valuable, (b) that there is an obligation to comply, and (c) that failure to comply would be costly. Meyer developed a method for measuring organizational commitment and subsequently, in collaboration with Herscovitc h, adapted this method to specifically ad dress commitment to change. An original survey for commitment to change designed by Meyer and Herscovitch contained 18 items that were divided into three subscales, affective, normative, and continuance, with six i tems each. This survey was field tested in 2002 with a sample population of 450, producing strong reliabilities ranging from 0.86 to 0.94 for the subscales. This original published survey for commitment to change was reduced in 2008 by Parish, Cadwallader and Busch to 11 of the original survey items. Using the modified survey, Parish et al. (2008) conducted research on change with 191 university employees. The reliability values for the modified version were reported as 0.95, 0.91, and 0.87 for affective, normative, and continuance commitment respectively. The shorter 11 item
81 survey for commitment to change was utilized by this researcher to address the first research question pertaining to teachers commitment to ninth grade reform. The 11 items for co mmitment to change combined with 45 items for leadership style and leadership outcomes produced an instrument with a total of 56 survey items as shown in Appendix A. Table 2 Items for Each Leadership Subscale on the MLQ 5X Characteristic Subs cale Name Items Transformational Idealized Attributes 4 Transformational Idealized Influence 4 Transformational Inspirational Motivation 4 Transformational Intellectual Stimulation 4 Transformational Individualized Consideration 4 Transactional Contingent Reward 4 Transactional Management by Exception 4 Passive Avoidant Management by Exception ** 4 Passive Avoidant Laissez Faire 4 Outcomes of Leadership Extra Effort 3 Outcomes of Leadership Effectiveness 4 Outcomes of Leadership Satisfaction 2 Note. Each characteristic of leadership is measured as a separate subscale. The total number of survey items is 45. The single asterisk (*) refers to active management by exception. The double asterisk (**) refers to passive management by exception.
82 Th e survey w as placed into an online format for availability to 320 ninth grade teachers in one central Florida school district. The introduction to the survey inform ed participants of the purpose and provide d instructions and assurances of confidentiality and anonymity. In the first section of the survey, directions specif ied that participants should respond to the items for commitment to change on a five point Likert Scale indicating one for strongly disagree two for disagree three for neither agree nor disagree four for agree and five for strongly agree. The second section was composed of the 45 questions from the MLQ 5X. Respondents were directed to indicate on a Likert Scale the degree to which each statement described the school leadership. Each item offered five possible answers with a choice of one for not at all two for once in a while three for sometimes, four for often and five for frequently if not always Demographical information including age, gender, yea rs of experience, ethnicity, and most recent school grade was requested fr om each participant in the final section. Data Collection Quantitative data collection Q uantitative data was collected through an online format using a commercial survey website, Survey Monkey. An introductory email was sent to members of the sample population with a brief explanation of the purpose of the survey, a request for their participation, and a reassurance of confidentiality and anonymity along with the link to the survey website. Participants respond ed to the 56 item survey pertaining to commitment to ch ange and school leadership using the previously described Likert Scale. Validity and reliability Th is study utilize d quantitative items to investigate commitment to change and teachers pe rceptions of school leadership during a large-
83 scale implementation of ninth grade academies. Two published surveys provided the basis of construction for the instrument for this study. The re sulting survey combine d measures to assess different types of commitment and perceptions of school leadership during the ninth grade reform The school leadership measure was developed using items from the MLQ 5X tha t was obtained online from Mind Garden, Inc. A survey developed in 2002 by John Meyer from the University of Western Ontario and subsequently shortened by Parish et al. (2006) provided the source of items for teacher commitment to change. The MLQ 5X ori ginated from the longer MLQ which was developed by Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio approximately 25 years ago. The MLQ has been used with a diverse range of organizational leaders including those from military, educational, manufacturing, government, and co rrectional institutions in over 30 countries (Avolio & Bass, 2004). As a widely accepted instrument for rating leadership styles, the survey items have been refined and validated through documented studies over time. Confidence in the reliability of the instruments was gained through nine studies involving 2,154 pa rticipants from both public and private institutions. Avolio and Bass reported Cronbach alpha values of 0.74 to 0.94 for each leadership subscale. Cronbachs alpha provides a standard measure of the internal consistency of a measurement instrument. In comparison to the recommendation of a Cronbachs alpha of 0.60 to 1.0, the reported reliability measures were acceptable values. The items for commitment to change were first developed by John Me yer and Lynne Herscovitch in 2002 and were based upon John Meyer and Natalie Allens research on o rganizational commitment. In a study involving over a 450 participants,
84 Meyer and Herscovitch reported an internal reliability for affective, continuance, and normative commitment as 0.94, 0.94, and 0.86 respectively. According to Meyer and Allen (2004), the commitment scales can be adapted to different objecti ves of organizational commitment without a significant impact on reliability or validity. Building upon the research of Meyer and Herscovitch, Parish et al. (2008 ) shortened the 18 item instrument to 11 items for commitment to change. Parish et al. (2008) reported Chronbach alpha values of 0.95, 0.87, and 0.91 for affective, continuance, and normative commitment, respectively. Consequently, the reliability remained stable and provide d confidence in the measures obtained through this instrument In addi tion to the content validity and internal reliability, the format of the survey was a consideration. This researcher used suggestions from two reference sources in desi gning the layout of the survey (Cox & Cox, 2008; Thomas, 1999). A carefully planned survey format that has clear and precise directions contributes to respondents providing valid information (Thomas, 1999). To provide added fidelity to the survey design, an assistant principal and two ninth gr ade teachers review ed the survey for clarity of directions ease of navigation through the instrument, and length of time to complete. Based upon feedback from two of the individuals, changes were made to each of the survey s ections regarding the directions in the first and second sections and the format in the final section. The phase there are no correct or incorrect responses was added to the directions for the commitment to change and leadership section s since one reviewer pointe d out that this phrase would add clarity to the directions. In the last section, the demographic items were left justified instead of a two column format based upon the recommendation of one
85 reviewer that a single column was easier to complete and would add assurance that every demographic question would be completed. The three r evi ewers estimated that completion of the survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Once the survey was placed into an online format, the same three individuals were given access and asked to review the survey once again for clarity of directions and ease of navigation. The number of items was a concern for the assistant principal but this was not changed. Upon recommendations from one teacher I placed the demographic page at the end rather than the beginning. A concern was expre ssed by one reviewer as to the length of the survey in regards to the response rate but the number of items was not a detail that could be changed. While the ideal length of a survey is difficult to determine, time of res ponse is a consideration for the effect on response rate (Creswell, 2005; Fowler, 2009). Data Analysis D escriptive statistics enable the researcher to summarize trends in data, reveal the extent of variances in scores, and develop comparisons between scores (Creswell, 2005, p. 182). Cent ral tendencies in descriptive analysis, represented by the mean, median, and mode determine a set of averages for the data Variance in responses is typically provided by the standard deviation (Gliner & Morgan, 2000). Frequency distributions present an other method of analysis which summaries the occurrence of each variable. Survey items for commitment to change were sorted into the three subscales of affective commitment, continuance commitment, and normative commitment. Responses to commitment to cha nge were rated along a continuum of values that ranged from a one for strongly disagree to a five for strongly agree on a Likert scale. The survey items for
86 the MLQ 5X were categorically organized into twelve subscales. Five subscales for transformational leadership were represented by idealized attributes, idealized behaviors, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Transactional leadership was associated with two subscales that included contingent reward and management by exception (active) Passive avoidant leadership was represented by the two subscales of management by exception (pass ive) and laissezfaire Leadership outcomes were identified by the subscales of satisfaction, effect iveness, and extra effort. A Likert Scale was used to rate responses from a value of one for not at all to a value of f ive for frequently if not always Data collected through the online survey format w as transferred in to a n electronic spreadsheet for or ganizational purposes and subsequent entry into the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) 9.3.1 comput er program. Ninth grade teachers collectively formed the unit of study based upon the shared experience of the change event and leadership. Although other approaches may exist, one acceptable method of analysis can occur through an average of the participants responses to present a crosssituational perspective ( Caldwell, Herold, & Fedor, 2004; Kozlowski & Klein, 2000). Consequently, each type of commitme nt to change leadership style, and each subscale of leadership were analyzed using the descriptive statistical methods of mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and frequencies. A summary of the research questions, data to be collected, an d the method of analysis was organized and presented below.
87 Table 3 Summary of Research Questions, Data Collection and Analysis Research Question Data Collection Method of Analysis How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, normative, and continuance type of commitment to change in the implementation of a ninth grade as a school within a school? 11 survey items (mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and frequencies) What are teachers perceptions of the school leadership style in the implementation of ninth grade as a schoolwithin a school? 36 survey items (mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and frequencies) What is the correlat ion between commitment to change and school leadership style s in the implementation of ninth grade as a schoolwithin a school? 47 survey items Correlation Coefficient What is the correlation between commitment to change and subscales of leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 47 survey items Correlation Coefficient To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a schoolwithin a school? 9 survey items (mean, median, mode, standard deviation and frequencies) Note. A total of 56 survey items address the four research questions. The statistical analysis for commitment to change and leadership styles were organized into table form ats in Chapter Four. Separate tables were created to display the results for the frequency distributions and measures of central tendency for research questions one, two, and five. A mean, median, mode, and standard deviation were
88 determined for these three research qu estions related to commitment, leadership style and outcomes. Frequencies were utilized to support the interpretation of average measures. Frequencies and central tendencies provided analysis of research question one: How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, normative, and continuance type of commitment to change in the implementation of a ninth grade as a school within a school? Frequencies and central tendencies were employed for research question two and five: (a) What school leadership styles are perceived by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? ; and (b) To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation o f ninth grade as a school within a school? In addition to descri ptive results, correlation measures were also determined for commitment to change and leadership styles. The resulting values were examined to determine any significant statistical results for the third and fourth research question s : ( a) What is the correlation between commitment to change and school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? and (b) What is the correlation between commitment to chan ge and subscales of school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Researcher Role and Ethical Considerations The researcher constructed an instrument for survey purposes to investigate commitment to change and leadership styles within the context of ninth grade reform. In the development of this survey instrument, permission was acquired for two online publications with a cost associated in the use of one as shown in Appendix B. Permis sion
89 for survey participation was obtained from the institutional review board of the school district in this study, as shown by Appendix C. This researcher complied with guidelines concerning the use of the survey instrument In the administration of t his survey, the ethical position of the researcher must be considered. During this investigation t he researcher held a position of high sc hool assistant principal in one high school i n the study In regard for this association, the researcher implemente d strategies to ensure th e integrity of the study. All recruitment and data collection was conducted through a commercial survey provider to mi nimize researcher participant interaction. Research participation was strictly voluntary with an option to block any further contact. N o identifying information linked responses to participants or individual schools and the data anal ysis was conducted in an aggregate form, thus providing anonymity and minimizing researcher bias The requisite online traini ng was completed by the researcher for the University of South Florida Institutional Review Board. While the potential for harm to participants was negligible, guidelines for anonymity and confidentiality w ere followed. Participants were advised of the purpose of the study and that participation was voluntary with the option to decline or withdraw at any time. No identifying information was obtained to determine who participated. Participants w ere assured of anonymity and confidentiality of all responses. Only the researcher had access to the data, and the records from this survey will be maintained in a password protected file for a peri od of five years at the researchers home.
90 Summary of Methods This c hapter described the methods used in the study of teachers commitment to change and their perceptions of school leadership during implementation of ninth grade reform. The development of the research design, research instrument, data colle ction and analysis, validity and reliability and researcher responsibilities were expla ined. In the following chapter, Chapter Four, the survey data and associated analysis is presented
91 Chapter Four Findings This chapter reports the findings of the study. The purpose of the study, research que stions, and research design are presented at the beginning of this chapter. A description of the study sample, demographic data, and the selection criteria for the sample are also presente d. This chapter then provides an overview of data collection and instrumentation followed by an analysis of the data and a brief summary of the findings. Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to investigate and describe teacher s commitment t o change and perceptions of school leadership as compared to the transformational model for change during impleme ntation of ninth grade reform in one Florida school district. In alignment with the endeavors of many high schools to produce more graduates i n an on time manner, educators look to the initial high school year as a critical point in determining students successful completion of high school. However, in the development of an alternative conception of the organization of ninth grade, changes may be required that significantly affect the traditional work of high school teachers. While leadership is a prominent topic in educational literature, less consideration has been given to the styl e of the school leader under conditions of school reform. Inclusive in this was the deficit of research on the association of school leadership with the commitment of teachers to engaging in such reform. To fost er a better understanding of teachers comm itment to change and perceptions of the accompanying leadership
92 involved in its occurrence, this study concentrated on a reform as presented through a district wide redesign of ninth grade into a school within a school format. Research Questions In accordance with the purpose of this study, the following questions were addressed in the study. 1. How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, normative, or continuance types of commitment to change in the implementation of ninth grade a s a school within a school? 2. What are teachers perceptions of the school leadership style in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 3. What is the correlat ion between commitment to change and school leadership style s in the imple mentation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 4. What is the correlation between commitment to change and subscales of school leadership style s in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 5. To what extent are the leadership o utcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Research Design A n online survey instrument was used to collect responses regarding teachers commitment to the implementation of ninth grade academies and their perceptions of school leadership during this reform. The design of this study employed both descriptive
93 and correlational statistics. A mean, me dian, mode, and standard deviation were calculated to provide a descriptive analysis of the type of commitment to change, leadership style, satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort. T he mean, median and mode each iden tifie d an average of responses situated within a set of minimum and maximum values. Outliers or anomalies in the responses have greater influ ence on the mean than other measures of central tendency. Response frequencies were computed to add support to the cal culated averages. A consideration of the extent of variance in the responses in comparison to the mean was provided by the standard deviation (Creswell, 2005). To describe the relationship between each type of commitment to change and school leadership s tyle, a Pearson s p roduc t m oment c orrelation c oefficient was computed. Research Sample Purposive sampling was used to identify ninth gra de teachers who were currently or previously associated with the implementation of a ninth grade academy. On this basis, the survey was distributed electronically to 320 teachers in one Florida school district. Of this number, 105 individuals responded to the online survey for a r esponse rate of 33%. Approximately 17 % of respondents did not complete any items in the optional demographic section. Since demographics were not included in the analysis, nonresponse in this area did not affect the statistical outcomes. In regard for the level of impact of the findings, Cohens tables indicated that at least 85 participa nts were necessary to produce a statistical power of 80% power and a medium effect size (Cohen, 1992). Therefore, this study exceeded the expected conventions for educational research.
94 A specific s election criterion was utilized for this study on ninth grade teachers commitment to change and their perceptions of school leadership. The selecti on of participants included three criteria: 1) the participant must be a currently employed or retired high school teacher; 2 ) the participant must be currently or previously associated with a freshman academy ; 3) the participant must be willing to participate in the study. All 105 survey respondents met these criteria. Demographic Data The demographics section was the final section of the online survey. A summary of the demographic data for respondents was presented in greater detail in Chapter Three. Consistent with the norm s for gender and ethnicity for the teaching profession, females were the primary respondents while approximately one third were males and all most all were White nonHispanic. The largest single category of age was reported for the 30 39 range which was followed closely by the 4049 and 5059 groups. The balance of experience was approximately equal b etween those with less than or greater than 10 years teaching experience. Over half of respondents reported a recent school grade of C which reflected the typical school grade earned by high schools in this district. Study Instrumentation Data for this s tudy was acquired through the use of an online survey constructed from previously published surveys for commitment to change and leadership styles. The initial survey desi gn was developed under the auspices of instrument reliabilities established through prior work by researchers in these two areas. To support t he reliability of the resulting survey compiled for this research study, a C ronbach alpha was computed as part of the data analysis process to produce an overall reliability measure of
95 0.81 for the survey instrument. A Cronbach alpha of this value is designated as good reliability for social science research (Diem & Diem, 2003). In regards for the validity of the survey items, the researcher relied upon the validation of the survey items t hrough multiple prior research studies and by advice from the researchers committee, an assistant principal and two ninth grade academy teachers. The online surve y consisted of three parts as presented in Appendix A. The first section requested that pa rticipants rate their commitment to the ninth grade academy implementation on eleven items using a five point Likert scale. In the next section of 45 items the same individuals were asked to ra te their principal school leader on cha racteristics of leader ship with a five point Likert scale. In the final section of the survey, participants were presented an optional demographic section that requested individual information pertaining to the participants gender, age, years of educational experience, ethnic ity, and most recent school grade. The resulting instrument was comprised of 56 rating items and six demographic questions. Quantitative Data Analysis Consistent with the purpose of this study, the analysis of the research data was designed to examine teachers commitment to change and the related perceptions of leadership in schools experiencing the reform of ninth grade. The mean, median, mode, and standard deviation were determined for the responses to items organized as commitment, to change, leadership style and leadership outcomes. The statistical mean represents the arithmetic average of responses that is sensitive to outlying indicators. The mean values were further validated by determining a set of distribution frequencies that displ ayed the most frequent responses. Such frequencies are resistant to outlying effects.
96 For the purpose of examining the relationship between each type of commitment to change and leadership style a Pearson r was calculated to describe the strength and direction of the association between the two areas. While a statistical connection may be established between sets of variables, the existence of a relationship does not translate into an interpretation of causality (Creswell, 2005). Data analysis was conducted using the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) 9.1.3. Presentation of Findings The following section presents the research questions and an overvie w of the survey items pertaining to each question. Items related to c ommitment to change w ere delineated as affective, normative, and continuance types of commitment Survey questions concerning l eadership styles were organized as transformational, tran sactional, and passive/avoidant forms for measurement purposes. Transformational leadership was further defined by the five subscales of idealized attributes, idealized behaviors, inspirational motiva tion, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. The subscales of contingent reward and management by exception (active) comprised transactional leadership. Passive/avoidant leadership was depicted by the subscales of management by exception (passive) and laissezfaire. The outcomes of leadership were represented through the subscales of effectiveness, satisfaction, and extra effort. The frequencies served as supporting descriptive documentation and were referenced in relation to measures of central tendencies. Frequencies assisted in a more complete interpretation of information provided by the mean, median, and mode. Following a more detai led description of each variable indicator, the reported
97 frequencies, measures of central tendency and Pearson correlations w ere organized according to each research question. Research question one. A brief summary and analysis of teachers reported commitment to change was formulated in response to the first research question. How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, normative, or continuance types of commitment to change in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Commitment to change was generally noted in the literature to be a mindset regarding personal actions for a designated change. The construct of c ommitment to change was defined as three different types: affective commitment; normative commitment; and continuance commitment. The first eleven survey items measured commitment to change. For each item, individuals rated themselves on a five point scale of one for strongly disagree two for disagree three for neither disagree nor agree four for agree and five for strongly agree Affective commitment to change was described as arising through individuals belief in an organizational change and personal alignment with the related goals of the change. Affective change was measured by four items: I believe in the value of this change; t his change is a good st rategy for this organization; t his change serves an important purpose; and things will be b etter because of this change. Normative commitment represented an overall attitude of support for change arising from a sense of obligation to adhere to responsibilities in association with maintaining attachment to the organization Four items pertain ing to normative commitment were presented to participants: I would feel guilty about opposing this
98 change; I do not feel it would be right of me to oppose this change; I feel obligated to support this change; and I feel a sense of duty to work for this change. C ontinuance commitment was represented in the literature as a sense of apprehension regarding employment status with the organization in the event of noncomplia nce with change. The survey presented three items to assess this type of commitment: it would be too costly for me to resist this change; I have too much at stake to resist this change; and I feel pressure to go along with this change. The statistical analysis of the types of commitment to change was accomplished through determining the frequency distribution and the measures of central tendency for the group of respondents Affective commitment displayed the largest percentage of responses at agree and strongly agree end of the scale thus indicating that slightly more than three fourths of the respondents reported to value the change. Table 4 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Commitment to Change Commitment 1 2 3 4 5 Total A ffective 5( 4.4 %) 4( 4. 2%) 16( 14. 8%) 51( 41. 9%) 36( 34.7 %) 105( 100.00 % ) N ormative 7( 6.9 %) 23( 22.0 %) 26( 25.0 %) 35( 33. 2% ) 14( 12. 9% ) 105( 100.00 %) C ontinuance 15( 14.6 % ) 32 ( 29.9 % ) 31( 29. 6% ) 21( 19.9 % ) 6( 6.0% ) 105( 100.00 %) Note. Numbers represent the Likert scale values of 1=strongly disagree; 2 =disagree; 3=neither agree nor disagree; 4=agree; and 5=strongly agree.
99 For continuance commitment, approximately 45% of respondents reported to disagree or strongly disagree with perceived costs for noncompliance with change while almost 30% indicated to neither agree nor disagree with any perceived penalty. One fourth of respondents reported to neither agree nor disagree with an obligation to change whereas almost one half expre ssed such an obligation. Thus, in general, the strongest agreement was found for affec tive commitment followed by the results for normative commitment. Table 5 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Commitment to Change (n=105) Commitment M Mdn Mo SD Min Max A ffective 3.98 4.0 4 1.03 1 5 N ormative 3.23 3.0 4 1.13 1 5 C ontinuance 2.73 3.0 2 1.11 1 5 Note. M=mean, Mdn=median, Mo=mode, SD=standard deviation, Min=minimum, and Max =maximum. Inclusion of the m inimum and maximum values added one method of validation for the reported statistics. The mean for normative commitment as supported by the frequencies and mode indicated that respondents more frequently chose agree in regards to an obligation to support the change. For affective agreement, the mean indicated that respondents more often selected agree in relation to the value and purpose of the intended reform initiative. The frequencies and mode further supported the reporte d mean value of affective commitment. The mean as supported by the frequencies and mode revealed that respondents more often tended to select disagree or neither agree nor disagree
100 concerning continuance commitment. This view related to such items as feeling pressure for change or perceiving personal cost for opposing change. Theref ore, the mean and mode in accordance with the frequencies indicated the presence of affective and normative commitment s for ninth grade reform. Research question two A description and analysis of teachers perceptions of school leadership as determined through the MLQ (5X) survey were composed in alignment with the second research question. What are teachers perceptions of the school leadership style in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? These leadership styles were defined as transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant. Transformational leadership was typified as raising followers consci ousness about the value of identified goals and the intended methods for obtaining them. Participants responded to each item on a scale of one to five with one as not at all two as once in a while three as sometimes four as often and five as frequently if not always The mean, me dian, mode, and standard deviation were presented as measures of central tendency for each leadership subscale and in total for the leadership styles of transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant. This ari thmetic average was further supported by evidence of responses most frequently chosen by participants in the form of the mode. The subs cale of transformational leadership identified as idealized attributes was measured by four items, 10, 18, 21, and 25, on the survey on leadership. Idealized attributes concerned leadership characteristics that inspire others to a collective vision along with trust and confidence in the leadership. The associated subscale of i deali zed
101 behaviors denoted a moral and ethical stance in leaders actions as they build the relationships necessary for the collective work toward that vision. Idealized behaviors were assessed by items 6, 14, 23, and 34. Together t hese two su bscales represent ed the idealized in fluence of leaders striving to transform organizations. Inspirati onal motivation was measured through items 9, 13, 26, and 36. This subscale highlighted the leadership characteristics that promote what is important for the organization and convey the pos itive expectations of what should be accomplished. Items 2, 8, 30, and 32 were related to intellectual stimulation. The subscale of intellectual stimulation pertained to leader s who motivate others to question beliefs and assumptions and to problem solve creatively. The transformational subscale of individual consideration was related to items of 15, 19, 29, and 31. This latter subscale was concerned with treating others uniquely in regards to their concerns and developmental needs (Avolio & Bass, 2004) The value for often on the Likert scale appeared consistently as the most frequently indicated response for each subscale of transformational leadership as well as the summary construct of this leadership style. Almost 60% of respondents indicated a l evel of idealized behavior at the often to frequently if not always level. A similar level of response was reported for idealized attributes. Approximately twothirds of responses for inspirational motivation were located at the often to frequently if no t always part of the Likert scale. Intellectual stimulation was reported by approximately 60% of respondents as sometimes to often in evidence. While almost one half of respondents indicated sometimes or often for individualized consideration, one third reported once in a while to not at all For the total leadership style, slightly more than one half of responses
102 indicated leaders as often or frequently if not always having transformational characteristics wh ereas nearly onefourth indicated that leaders sometimes exhibited transformational characteristics. Table 6 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Transformational Leadership and Subscales Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 Total I dealized Attributes 5( 4.7 %) 12(11.2%) 26(25.2%) 36( 34.6% ) 26( 24.3% ) 105( 100% ) Idealized Behaviors 4(3.9%) 12(11.9%) 24(22.6%) 38(36.3%) 27(25.3%) 105( 100% ) Individualized Consideration 15( 14. 3% ) 20( 19.1% ) 24( 22.6% ) 27 ( 26.2% ) 19( 17.9% ) 105( 100 % ) Inspirational Motivation 2( 1. 5% ) 11( 11.0% ) 20( 19.0% ) 43( 41.0% ) 29( 27.6% ) 105( 100 % ) Intellectual Stimulation 9( 9.0% ) 18( 17.3% ) 3 2 ( 29.9% ) 33( 31.6% ) 13 ( 12.2% ) 105( 100 % ) Transformational 7( 6. 7% ) 15( 14.1% ) 25( 23.8% ) 36( 34.0% ) 22 ( 21.5% ) 105( 100 % ) Note. Numbers represent the Likert scale values of 1=not at all; 2=once in a while; 3=sometimes; 4=often; and 5=frequently if not always.
103 Table 7 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Transformational Leadership (n=105) Leadership M Mdn Mo SD Min Max I dealized A ttributes 3.62 4 4 1.11 1 5 I dealized Behaviors 3.67 4 4 1.10 1 5 I ndividualized Consideration 3.14 3 4 1.31 1 5 I nspirational Motivation 3.82 4 4 1.00 1 5 I ntellectual Stimulation 3.21 3 4 1.14 1 5 T ransformational 3.49 4 4 1.17 1 5 Note Note. M=mean, Mdn=median, Mo=mode, SD=standard deviation, Min=minimum, and Max =maximum. I nspirational m otivation emer ged with a mean val ue that indicated leadership as often associated with i nspiring enthusiasm and high expectations C omparable means for idealized attributes and behaviors as supported by the frequencies and mode indicated that participants reported leadership as often having characteristics and behaviors that inspire d confidence and trust in a vision of what could be attained. T he compiled findings of the means f or intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration equated to a view that leaders sometimes or often fostered critical thinking and concern
104 for personal needs. The means were further supported by the frequencies and mode for the latter subscales of transformational leadership. In general teachers perceived leaders as often exhibit ing the characteristics of transformational leadership. T ransactional leadership has been generally viewed as an exchange of rewards and consequences in connection to the accomplishment of assigned tasks. Two subscales, contingent reward and management by exception (active) represent ed two aspects of this leadership sty l e. Survey i tems 1, 11, 16, and 35 were indicators for contingent reward and 4 22, 24, and 27 were linked to management by exception (active). Manage ment by exception (active) took into account an expectation for followers adherence to rules and regulations while contingent reward established the expectancy of gaining a reward for positive outcomes. Table 8 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Transactional Leadership and Subscales Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 Total C ontingency Reward 8( 7.4 %) 13( 12. 2%) 31(29.4%) 32(30.9%) 21(20.2%) 105(100%) Management by Exception 21(20.2%) 28(26.8%) 33( 3 1.3%) 18( 17.5% ) 5( 4.2% ) 105( 100% ) Transactional 15( 13.8% ) 20( 19.4% ) 32( 30.3% ) 25( 24.2% ) 13( 12.3% ) 105( 100% ) Note. Numbers represent the Likert scale values of 1=not at all; 2=once in a while; 3=sometimes; 4=often; and 5=frequently if not always.
105 Approximately 60% of respondents indicated sometimes to often for contingent reward. Fifty eight percent indicated sometimes to once in a while for m anagement by exception (active) while 20% indicated not at all. For the total leadership style, approxima tely 55% of respondents reported that leaders sometimes to often exhibited transactional characteristics. Table 9 Mean, Median, Mode and Standard Deviation for Transactional Leadership (n=105) Leadership M Mdn Mo SD Min Max C ontingent Reward 3.44 4 4 1.16 1 5 M anagement by Exception 2.59 3 3 1.12 1 5 T ransactional 3.02 3 3 1.22 1 5 Note. M=mean, Mdn=median, Mo=mode, SD=standard deviation, Min=minimum, and Max =maximum. A mean of 3.44 and a median four for contingent reward signified that participants reported leaders as often specifying the goals to be accomplished and the anticipa ted rewards for completion. The findings of a mean of 2.59 and median of three for management by exception (active) indicated that leaders sometimes focus ed on mistakes and failures. The selection of the means for contingency reward and management by exception (active) were supported by the modes 4 and 3 respectively. In
106 general, respondents viewed leaders as sometimes having characteristics of transactional leadership while the more specific behavior of contingent reward was more often evident. The third leadership style, a pa ssive/avoidant form, was typified by minimal interactions in the leadership role with a tendency to refrain from intervening in issues and making decisions. Two subscales, management by exception (passive) and laissez faire, comprised the assessm ent of this leadership style. Management by exception (passive) was measured through survey items 3, 12, 17, and 20 and i tems 5, 7, 28, and 33 pertained to laissezfaire. Table 10 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Passive/A voidant Leadership and Subscales Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 Total M anagement by Exception 37(35.0%) 28( 27.3% ) 25( 23.4% ) 12( 11.9% ) 3( 2.4% ) 105( 100% ) Laissez Faire 48( 45.5% ) 29( 28.1% ) 19( 18.6% ) 7( 6.3% ) 2( 1.5% ) 105( 100% ) Passive/Avoidant 42( 40.2% ) 29( 27.7% ) 22( 21.0% ) 10( 9.1% ) 2( 1.9% ) 105( 100% ) Note. Numbers represent the Likert scale values of 1=not at all; 2=once in a while; 3=sometimes; 4=often; and 5=frequently if not always. For the leadership subscale of management by exception (passive), almost twothirds of respondents indicated once in a while to not at all whereas approximately onethird reported sometimes to often for that subscale. Almost three fourths of respondents reported once in a while to not at all for the subscale of laissezfaire. For the total
107 leadership style, twothirds of r espondents indicated that leaders once in a while to not at all exhibited passive/avoi dant characteristics. Table 11 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Passive/Avoidant Leadership (n=105) Leadership M Mdn Mo SD Min Max M anagement by Exception 2.19 2 1 1.11 1 5 L aissez Faire 1.90 2 1 1.01 1 5 P assive/Avoidant 2.04 2 1 1.07 1 5 Note M=mean, Mdn=median, Mo=mode, SD=standard deviation, Min=minimum, and Max =maximum. The mean s for both management by exception (passive) and laissez faire were situated at 2.19 and 1.90 re spectively. The selection of the means for both subscales of passive/avoidant leadership was supported by the frequencies and mode 1. In general, the characteristics of passive/avoidant leadership were infrequently perceived as indicated by indicators of not at all or once in a while Research question three. A summation and analysis of the results of the investigation of a relationship between teachers commitment to change and school leadership style were presented through the third research question. What is the correlation between commitment to change and school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school?
108 Commitment to change was delineated as affective, normative, and continuance. An examination of these three types of commitment in connection with the three forms of leadership as defined by transformational, tran sactional, and passive/avoidant was presented in the analysis of this research. Using SAS 9.1.3 software, a proc corr analysis was performed to determine the existence of a relationship between each type of commitment to change and each leadership style. A Pearson Correlation Coefficient was computed as an acceptable method of investigat ion (Creswell, 2005; Gay & Airasian, 2003). Correlation values range from 1 to +1 and were considered significant at p < .05 (Creswell, 2005). Table 12 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Leadership Variables AC NC CC TRANSF TRANSAC PA AC NC .125 CC .22 4 .41 1 T RANSF .091 .12 3 .039 T RANSAC .016 .082 .076 .248 PA .021 .082 .086 .276 .25 3 Note = .05, AC = affective commitment, NC = normative leadership CC = continuance commit ment, TRANSF = tran sformational leadership, TRANSAC = transactional leadership, PA = passive/avoidant leadership
109 The findings showed a significant positive correlat ion between transformational leadership and normative commitment. Research question four. Further analysis was conducted between the subscales of each leadership style and commitment to change. What is the correlation between commitment to change and subscales of school leadership styles in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? T able 13 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Transformational Subscales Variables AC NC CC IA IB IM IS IC AC NC .125* CC .224* .411* IA .091 .123* .039 IB .068 .199* .041 .587* IM .067 .138* .052 .645* .601* IS .175* .196* .024 .610* .466* .630* IC .115* .086 .113 .480* .374* .505* .589* Note = .05, AC = affective commitment; NC = normative commitment; CC = continuance commit ment; IA = idealized attributes; IB = idealized behaviors; IM = inspiratio nal motivation; IS = intellectual stimulation; and IC = individualized consideration.
110 For transformational lea dership, two subscales showed significant positive correlation s with affective commitment. Both i ndividualized consideration and intellectual consideration correlated at the p < .05 level. Normative commitment correlated significantly and positively with all but the individualized consideration subscale o f transformational leadership at the p< .05 level. No significant correlations were deter mined for continuous commitment and any transformational subscale. The two subscales of transactional leadership were analyzed for correlations with each type of commitment to change. Contingent reward was correlated significantly and positively with normative commitment at the p<.05 level. Table 14 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Transactional Subscales Variables AC NC CC CR MBEA AC NC .125* CC .224* .411* CR .065 .231* .058 MBEA .015 .082 .076 .285* Note = .05, AC = affective commitment, NC = normative commitment, CC = continuance commitm ent, CR = contingent reward, MBEA = management by exception active.
111 An examination also was conducted to determine the relationship between the two subscales of passive/avoidant leadership and each t ype of commitment to change. Table 15 Summary Bivariate Correlation Results for Commitment and Passive/Avoidant Subscales Variables AC NC CC MBEP LF AC NC .125* CC .224* .411* MBEP .021 .082 .086 LF .029 .074 .083 .440* Note = .05, AC = affecti ve commitment; NC = normat ive commitment; CC = continuance commitment ; MBEP = management by exception passive; and LF = laissezfaire. No significant correlation measures emerged for the subscale of management by exception (passive ) or laissezfaire with the three types of commitment affective, normative, or continuance. Summary of Correlations No s ignificant correlations emerged between affecti ve commitment to change and the overall construct of transformational, transactional, or passive/avoidant leadership style. However, significant correlation measu res were determined to exist betw een affective commitment and two individual subscales intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration, for transformational leadership N ormative commitment
112 correlated significantly with transformational leadership as well as with four of the five subscales of transformational leadership idealized attributes, idealized behaviors, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation. A Pearson r value indicated a positive linear relationship between the reported obligation to support organizational change, as defined by normative commitment, and respondents reported perceptions of transformational lead ership. No significant correlation emerged for normative commitment and the subscale individualized consideration. For transactional leadership, the subscale contingent reward was also significantly correlated with normative commitment. Research questi on five Outcomes of effectiveness, job satisfaction, and extra effort were determined for teachers experiencing ch ange as indicated by the fifth research question. To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Successful outcomes pertain to leaders motivati onal influence on followers extra effort, the leaders effectiveness in facilitating interactions with others, and the resulting satisfaction gleaned by those individuals experiencing these methods (Avolio & Bass, 2004). Satisfaction was measured by survey items 38 and 41. Items 37, 40, 43, and 45 assessed effectiveness whil e extra effort pertained to item numbers 39, 42, and 44.
113 Table 16 Frequency and Percentage Distributi on for Leadership Outcomes Outcomes 1 2 3 4 5 Total S atisfaction 1(1.2%) 15( 14.4% ) 28( 26.4% ) 35( 32.9% ) 26( 25.2% ) 105( 100% ) Effectiveness 4( 3.9% ) 17( 15.9% ) 24( 22.8% ) 34( 32.7% ) 26( 24.6% ) 105( 100% ) Extra Effort 10( 9.6 % ) 21( 19.9% ) 24( 22.3% ) 29( 27.9% ) 21( 20.3% ) 105( 100% ) Note. Numbers represent the Likert scale values of 1=not at all; 2=once in a while; 3=sometimes; 4=often; and 5=frequently if not always For each leadership outcome, the largest percentage was reported for the Likert scale value of often observed. Satisfaction with leadership was reported at a level of sometimes to often by a pproximately 60% of respondents. Almost 58% of respondents indicated often to frequently if not always for leadership effectiveness. For extra effort, 50% of respondents reported this leadership outcome as sometimes to often while almost 30% indicated once in a while to not at all for this outcome. Table 17 Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation for Leadership Outcomes (n=105) Outcome M Mdn Mo SD Min Max Satisfaction 3.66 4 4 1.04 1 5 Effectiveness 3.58 4 4 1.14 1 5 Extra Effort 3.29 3 4 1.26 1 5 Note. M=mean, Mdn=median, Mo=mode, SD=standard deviation, Min=minimum, and Max =maximum.
114 The mean and mode indicators for leadership outcomes were supported by frequency measures. These findings indicated a n average response of often for satisfaction with leaders methods and leaders effectiveness. In conjunction with the frequencies, the mode represented an average that individuals often exerted extra effort. Summary of Chapter Four Several key findings emerged in the analysis of teacher commitment to change and leadership styles. Approximately three fourths of respondents expressed a level of agree to strongly agree with affective commitment to change along with a mean value that substantiated a greement with the goals and value of the change. Almost half of the individuals acknowledged an obligation to support change while almost as many disagreed with any perceived costs for failure to support change. The teachers who participated in this study generally reported that they perceived the principal school leadership as often exhibiting the characteristics of transformational leadership. The combined transformational characteristics of idealized influence and inspirational motivation were indicated at the often to frequently if not always level f or at least 60% of respondents For intellectual stimulation, sixty percent of responses were concentrated at the sometimes to often level W hile about one half of respondents also indicated sometimes to often for individualized consideration about one third perceived this characteristic as once in a while to not at all T ransactional leadership was also evident in that respondents generally reported leaders as sometimes evidencing transactional traits. T he transactional component, contingent reward, emerged as a leadership characteristic that was reported by 60% of respondents as sometimes to often evident. A comparable percentage of respondents reported manag ement by exception
115 (active) at the level of sometimes to once in a while Passive/avoidant leadership was largely perceived as once in a while to not at all The passive/avoidant subscale, management by exception (passive) was indicated by twot hirds of responses at the once in a while to not at all level while three fourths indicated this level for the subscale of laissezfaire. In determining the existence of a ny relationship between com mitment to change and leadership style, several statistically significant poi nts emerged for normative commitment identified as an obligation to support change, and transformational l eadership. The transformational subscales of idealized attributes, idealized behavior, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulatio n demonstrated significantly positive association s with normative commitment. One subscale of transactional leadership, contingent reward, was also found to be significantly and positively related to normative commitment. This associ ation of normative c ommitment with transformational leadership and c ontingent reward suggest s that leaders engage in consistent communicat ion about the ideals and expectations of change establish an environment of mutual trust, and inspire collaborative i nteractions among organizational members A ffective commitment denoted by a belief in the value of change, was significan tly related to the transformational characteristics of intellectual stimulation and individual consideration This associat ion of an affective perspective of change with individu al thinking and support alludes to the importance of building a foundation of knowledge and skills at the individual teacher level. Th e result for these two transformational characteristics in concert with affe ctive commitment was suggestive of leadership that encourage s organizational members to be reflective about their work,
116 think creatively, and work cooperatively to set new standards of practice. No significant relationships were determined for continuance commitment and leadership styles. S atisfaction with the methods used by leaders, the eff ectiveness of leaders, and extra effort were apparent outcomes expressed by respondents as often evident While almost 60% of respondents indicated a level of sometimes to often for satisfaction, a comparable percentage perceived leadership effectiveness at the level of often to frequently if not always Approximately half of respondents indicated extra effort as sometimes to often This chapter presented the findings from the study on teachers commitment to the implementation of ninth grade academies and their perceptions of school lea dership. Chapter F ive presents a discussion of the findings, limitations of the study, implication s for practice, and recommendations for future research
117 Chapter Five Summary and Discussion An expanse of literature highlighted a recurring interest in the area of school improvement. Issues of student performance as well as timely progress ion toward high school graduation have created a sense of urgency in some Florida schools to produce better results. In response to such demands schools may embark upon new avenues of purpose and practice. Rather than a simple event, school reform concerns a complex set of professional interactio ns. At the core of this phenom enon of change is a perceptual framework that individuals bring to the work of impr oving schools. Individuals interpretation of people and events around them give meaning to their en vironment. Such i nterpretations are not constructed in response to an absolute reality but are formed as they filter through the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of individuals. Hence, the perceptions of commitment and leadership emanating from this study were examined in light of a conceptual model of commitment and leadership for change. A comparative examination of school leadership and commitment of t eachers to school reform offered opportunity to examine the theoretical basis of each con struct in a system wide approach to change. Expanding the conceptual foundation of each contributes to a better understanding of the individuals involved in organizational change. Thus, the c onverge nce of these two human resource elements comprised the f ocus of this study.
118 Purpose of the study The prominent roles that educators play in reform initiativ es were well represented in the literature on succes sful school change. While the literature on school reform generally posited that leader ship was critical to paving the way for reform initiatives, less attention was placed on the emergent leadership styles of those individuals facilitating these initiatives A s change unfolds for individuals the literature also failed to fully explain the commitm ent of teachers to engage in reform efforts To more fully explore both the leadership and commitment involved in change, this study endeavored to provide a monocular perspective in its concentration on a singular reform initiative in one Florida school district. In response to the pressing concern for greater high school outcomes, a Florida district directed attention to c hanging the traditional format of ninth grade across 14 high schools Proffered as a panacea for the ills of large comprehensive high schools, ninth grade academies represented a large scale investment of leaders and teachers in a singular initiative acro ss high schools within this district. Goals of improving student outcom es as specified by academic grades, test scores, and social acclimation to high school were set as a common focus for achieving better long term results for high school graduation rate s With the potential to produce considerable benefits fo r student outcomes along with better state and federal school evaluations academy implementation emerged as a high stakes initiative. Thus, the purpose of this study w as to provide a broader view of teachers commitment to change and their perceptions of leadership style in relation to the theoretical construct of transformational leadership in school change.
119 Research Questions Consistent with the purpose of this study, the following questions guided the investigation of teacher commitment to change and perceptions of leadership style. 1. How do teachers perceive themselves in terms of affective, normative, or continuance types of commitment to change in the implem entation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 2. What are teachers perceptions of the school leadership style in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 3. What is the correlation between commitment to change and school leade rship style s in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 4. What is the correlation betw een commitment to change and subscales of school leadership style s in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? 5. To what extent are the leadership outcomes of satisfaction, effectiveness, and extra effort evidenced by teachers in the implementation of ninth grade as a school within a school? Context of the Study Th is study examined the spectrum of teachers commitment to ch ange and their perceptions of leadership during a districtwide reform for ninth grade in one Florida school district This school district is ranked among the largest 40 school districts nationally and is t he eighth largest school district in Florida. O verall the district received a grade of B during each year from 2008 to 2010 through Floridas accountability
120 system for districts and schools. Ninth grade students demonstrate yearly performance through the reading and mathematics portions of the FC AT For the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, the percentage s of ninth grade students scoring proficient in reading were reported as 38%, 38%, and 39%, respectively. For the same time period, the math results were 58%, 59%, and 58%. During the period 20092010, approximately 2,458 of the districts 7,253 teachers taught at the secondary level. Twentyeight percent of secondary teachers held degrees above the bachelor level. The demographics for secondary teachers consisted of 64% female, 36% male, 84% White, 10% Black, 5% Hispanic with 1% as other ethnici ties. In the same time period, the district reported 7,396 ninth grade students. Ninth grade demographics were represented by 48% White, 22% Black 25% Hispanic, and 5% as other ethnicities. All fourteen high schools were engaged in the districtwide initiative to establish an academy structure within the high school unit. The shift in focus to a small school format was undertaken to improve student outcomes and subsequently, high school gradua tion rates In collaboration with the International Center for Leadership in Education, this Florida school district developed the parameters of a ninth grade academy within the larger school structure. Although developed as a district level initiative with common ality of structure and practice across schools, each high school assumed responsibility for site level implemen tation As the primary leaders, high school principals in the district were accountable for school level outcomes as well as improvement plans.
121 The implementation of a ninth grade reform model across this Florida school district precipitated considerable investment by the district in resources to advance the initiative. New construction of five academy buildings, a 1.3 million dollar grant, and a partnership with the International Center for Leadership in Education underscored the importance of the purpose of the reform. While planning for each ninth grade academy was delegated to each school, a common set of standards was applied to all. The S chool year 20092010 was designated as the year for f ull implementation in all fourteen high schools Professional development fo r this reform was provided through conference participation with the International Cente r for Leadership in Education during the summers of 2009 and 2010. Each high school principal, along wit h a team of a three to four academy personnel, w as offered the opportunity to attend one or both conf erence events t hat featured national level model schools Conference participation afforded selected academy teachers and school level administration access to information on successful ninth grade academies. A subsequent one day district level professional training for all ninth gra de academy teachers was provided in January, 2010 to offe r broader exposure to recommended practices. Sample Population The sample for this study was comprised of teachers in the district with existing or prior associations to ninth grade academy implementation. In determining a purposive sample, a set of c riteria was employed for the selection of participants : 1) the participant must be a currently employed or retired high school teacher; 2) the participant must be currently or previously associated with a freshm an academy ; 3) the participant must be
122 willing to participate in the study. The resulting sample totaled 320 potential participants who were invited to participate in an electronic survey to determine measures of teacher commitment to change as well as their perceptions of leadership style. A response rate of 33% was achieved with 105 respondents. Study Instrumentation A three part electronic survey instrument served the dual purpose of measuring teacher commitment and perceptions of leadership style. In the initial section, items for commitment originated through the work of organizational commitment by John Meyer. A commercially available instrument, the MLQ (5X) provi ded items for leadership in the second section and the final section contained demographic questions. The MLQ (5X) and earlier versions of this instrument have been used in over 30 countries to investigate leadership in a wide array of institutions including military, industry, bus iness, religious organizations, and schools (Avolio & Bass, 2004). Participant s responded to items for commitment and leader ship using a five point Likert S cale For items pertaining to a commitment to the implementation of ninth grade academies, participants indicated responses that ranged from a one for strongly disagree to a five for strongly agree. The range of responses for leadership style was one for not at all to five for frequently if not always. Five optional demographic questions were placed at the end of the survey that was available online to participants for a two week period. Discussion This study sought to explore the important issue of both teacher commitment and perception of school leadership in a unified initiative to conform ninth grade into an
123 academy model across the high schools in one Florida sch ool district. Previous research on educational change conveyed a general consensus on the importance of both school leadership and the commitment of teachers in schools that embark upon effective school reform (Calabrese, 2002; Elmore, 2004; Foster, 2005; Fullan, 2007; Hall & Hord, 2001). P rior studies that considered associations between commitment and leadership promoted a model of high affective commitment in connection with high transformational leadership. Thus, in addition to examining the presence of these two constructs within the context of school reform, thi s research sought to add to the evidence in the li terature regarding the theoretical connections between each type of commitment to change and leadership style s. Although the leadership st yle of those a t the helms of schools may be categorized as transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant, the research literature has promoted the tra nsformational form to the forefront of studies on school change (Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; 2006b). Along with the se three leadership styles, t his study examined three types of commitment to change represented as affective, normative, and continuance. In 2002, Herscovitch and Meyer established the influence of t hese three forms of commitment and alluded to a predictive feature in regards to individuals behavior for change. Thus, the findings of this study supplied further evidence of the l eadership, commitment, and related associations occurring during the context of a significant school initiative. General findings Several findings emerged for this study which will be addressed more fully in the subsequent di scussion. T he study provided a systemic view of teachers commitment to ninth grade reform and perceptions of leadership style during
124 the early wave of ninth grade change across a single school district. Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) developed a three component mode l that differentiated the three perspectives of commitment to change as affective, normative, and continuance. Their research later expanded upon by others, employed this model as a predictor for different modes of compliance with change. In a districtwide perspect ive of ninth grade reform respondents summarily displayed both affective and normative com mitments to this initiative In acco rd with the prevailing theoretical framework of specific leadership attributes and behaviors for changing organizations, this study found sufficient evidence of transformational characte ristics as perceived by teachers. Furthermore, transactional leadership in the form of contingent reward was also evident in the results of this research In the comparative analysis of t he expressed commitments and teachers perceptions of leadership, the evidence failed to substantiate the prevailing association of affective commitment with the transformational style of leadership as purported in the change literature. However, margina l evidence emerged at the level of analysis for commitment and specific leadership behaviors in the form of intellectual stimulation a nd individualized consideration. While the foundational background on normative commitment and leadership was almost nonexistent this study contained indicators of an intersection between this form of commitment and teachers perception of the spe cific leadership attributes of idealized influence and inspirational motivation. In contrast to the transformational leader ship model for change, percept ions of leadership behaviors associated with transactional leadership and normative commitment appeared in the results.
125 Commitment to c hange Considerable importance has been attribut ed to the commitment of teachers in the successful implementation of new initiatives (Fedor et al., 2006; Herold et al., 2008; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Zimmerman, 2006). This study considered a three fold construct of commitment described as affective, normative, and continuance. Affective commitment to change has been theorized as the ideal condition for the positive embracement of change. E arlier research tended to focus on a single form to the exclusion of others, and i n most instances, affective commitment was si ngularly examined for its influence on individuals efforts toward change. Portrayed as a mindset for change, each commitment is contrasted by differing modes of approac h. A f fective commitment denotes the de sire to pursue new goals whe re as normative commitment represents an obligation to do so, and continuance co mmitment acknowledges the personal cost s for noncompliance In the present study, the comm itment or mindset was identified for the specific change goals of ninth grade reform As noted by Zimmerman (2006), teachers willingness for change is a powerful indicator for the success of school reform efforts. The district in this study has assigned considerable resources to a small school model for ninth grade with the hope of changing existing outcomes. Hence, teacher commitment has significant implications for the extent of return on this investment. While the evidence revealed that teachers reported a ffective commitment, suffi cient levels of normat ive commitment were also d etermined The se results indicated an overall agreement with the value of academy implementation and that the initiative was a worthwhile reform Additionally, indicators for normative commitment showed that teachers acknowledged an obliga tion to their pr ofessional duties to the goals for ninth
126 grade. Together, t he results for both affective and normative commitment indicated that teachers acknowledged an agreement with the potential benefits in restructuring ninth grade as well as an understanding of t heir professional role in academy implementation. Both affective and normative commitments have been linked to individual efforts beyond mere compliance with change (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). Thus, expressions of both portend to a district teaching base that underst ands the value of making the anticipated ninth grade improvements and which acknowledges an obligation to follow through with the expectations of their work in this change process. While the results for commitment suggested a pos itive mindset of teachers, consideration must be given to the possible mediating inf luence of a district vision for ninth grade reform. Promoted as a district wide initiative, expectations for success have been widely disseminated. Although prior research has awarded greater significance to affective commitment, both affective and normative have been purported to produce positive employee behaviors that extend beyond mere compliance. Individuals exhibiting both these commitments were shown to be more apt to cooperate an d openly advance change initiatives (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). Consequently, these constructs function as additive elements with predictive value in the efforts to facilitate change (Herold et al., 2008; Hercovit ch & Meyer, 2002). An extension follows in the wake of this interpretation for an expectation of greater efforts for the implementation and advancement of change in an environment of affective and normative commitments While the present study attested to earlier research designed to gauge the commitment of employees to change initiatives this study also diverged from most previous investigations thr ough the homogeneity of a system wide reform Moreover,
127 Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) stated that any change strat egy can be evaluated in terms of the likelihood of a committed attitude toward implementation. Even though the antecedents of commitment may not be totally clear, nonetheless, the presence of affective and normative commitments leads to certain assumptions about the ir impact on the change process. Normative commitment typifies the individual who works within acceptable boundaries of organizational policy and procedures suggesting the role of a good employee. The findings in this study indicated that respondents e xpressed an obligation to undertake their part in ninth grade reform Moreover social or financial incentives may influence a level of commitment, thus alluding to the contingent conditions that also surfaced in these findings. Subsequently, a reciproca l pattern may emerge in teachers conformity to change strategies while realizing the benefits of organizational membership Stepping beyond the parameters of obligatory adherence to change requirements, affective affiliation to change goals takes the conception of commitment to a more intimate level. Individuals who become involved in and take an active interest in constructing plans for change may be more apt to an affective affiliation with such initiatives. Essential to laying the groundwork for change is an assessment of the organizations status by its members (Hall & Hord, 2006; Hord, 1987). While the conception of redesigning ninth grade originated as a district initiative, the depth of improvement was a school concern. For teachers in the Florida scho ol district in this study a review of school level data for ninth grade student s academic performance attendance, and discipline provided a basis of reflection about areas for improvement. Aligning practices outlined by the distri ct with this rational assessment of
128 data provided a basis for conversations about the potential benefits at the school and teacher level. A district focus on teacher teaming as part of the ninth grade initiative, c ontributed to collective dialogues about improving student results. Consequently, the opportunity emerges for professional identity to become entwined with a course of action, and success takes on personal meaning. From the perspective of this researcher as a high school administrator in the district, the affective and normative commitments expressed by the stakeholders of ninth grade reform bode well for the buy in that maintains a course for change. Given that both affective and normative commitments lead to employee actions beyond the minimum, the present study offered a picture of respondents who acknowledged a commitment to improvement goals and were willing to engage in reform strategies. Evidence of each commitment affirmed the value of keeping a pervasive message of the ideals o f change on the minds of teachers and at the heart of work activities, thereby validating the importance of this vision. Moreover, building a culture of cohesive support throughout the process of implementation may affirm or elevate the level of commitmen t. The findings also implied that commitment may not be a finite concept or delimited by one form. Just as change evolves along a continuum, commitment may unfold in the same manner. Uncertainties and challenges introduce variable conditions in the progression of implementation. Varying periods of stability may prompt individuals to draw upon differing perspectives of commitment. I ntervening conditions such as new policies or mandates interject different constraints on teachers work. Datnow (2005) noted that the introduction of new educational policies or mandates may undermine
129 commitment and filter into the decision making process for reform implementation. Such shifts in the environment require advocates of change to draw upon a n affective persp ective for maintaining the progress of change. Thus, a n assumption follows in the wake of this study that while sep arate, the commitment to change should not be narrowly bound to a singular perspective or by time. Furthermore, simple agr eement with change may not always translate into the unconditional embracement of a new initiative. Hall and Hord (2006) advised that the process of change is neither linear nor de void of pitfalls Navigating through difficult periods of implementation may warrant higher endurance and energy be st given by those acting out of affective commitment. In contrast, actions that emanate from a normative perspective place commitment in a mode of profe ssional duty to maintain progress Undeniably, expressions of affective commitment represent the epitome of what leaders want of those individuals in the trenches of reform especially during darker periods of change. However, l ongitudinal evidence of affective commitment has not been explored, thus leaving open t he question of whether this level of commitment can be sustained or is necessary in every stage of change Consequently, a balance of the two may well serve the peaks and valleys that individuals encounter while movi ng through the process of reform E nvironmental instability may also emerge through the attrition of teachers. A s new individuals enter ninth grade positions, commitment to the plan for change must remain a foremost concern. Hen ce, a continued sense of urgency inserts the pur pose of change into the center of decisionmaking, teacher conversations, and individual
130 development. S preading this vision forward also necessitates that school leaders derive momentum from a foundation of district support. Not surprising was the limited presence of continuance commitment This latter finding suggest ed that teachers who participated in this study did not feel that their position was dependent upon compliance with reform measures Continuance commitment was found to have a moderating influence on the positive nature of affective commitment (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). Therefore, modest expressions in this study indicated that teachers were not constrained by mere compliance with reform strategies. However, employment conditio ns may have been relevant to this perspective of commitment Considering that approximately half of the participants reported more than 10 years experience, those with greater longevity may have relied upon the security of tenured positions and summarily dismiss ed this aspect of commitment. Fu rthermore, increased demands for qualified teachers in accord to state legislative regulat ion of class size may also have contributed to a greater sense of security for some individuals Leadership style in reform Leadership has been generally acknowledged a s a prominent factor in successful schools. The literature on leadership w as attuned to the theoretical and practical characterizations of those placed at the helms o f organizations undergoing change. Oke et al. (2009) noted the social interactive nature of leadership. Leadership has been viewed as a social process that takes place in a group context in which the leader influences his or her followers behaviors so t hat desired organizational goals are met. The leaders role as an influencer of required behaviors may range from being inspirational, motivational, and visionary to a
131 role that involves the design of an appropriate organizational context (Oke et al., 2009, p. 65). These social aspects of leadership were subsumed within the general forms of transformational and transactional leadership. R ecent stud ies on leadership and change have single d out the transfo rmational style a s most conducive to change (Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; 2006b). Accordingly, t his study cont ributed to the broader context of research concerning the perception of tra nsformational leadership as a driving element of organizational change. In general, the literature established the premise that transformational leadership and organizational change go hand in hand. The results of the present stud y were examined in light of this conceptual link between a transforming view of leadership and change phenom ena. Discernment of an array of transformational characteristics emerging from this s tudy confirmed the applicability of a conceptual model of transformational leadership to system wide reform Transform ing characteristics in the form of i nspirational motivation, idealized attributes, and idealiz ed behaviors have been typically associat ed with those leaders who paint a vision of the future, set high standards of performance, and convey determination and confidence toward that vision (Rafferty & Griffin, 2004, p. 329). Consequently, the supporting evidence for a model of transformational leadership in a setting of school change was derived from a system wide view of school leadership that promotes vision as well as inspirational motivation and id ealized influenc e The perceptions offered by this study paralleled the expected transformational characteristics that attest to an inspired vision for school reform and motivation to fulfill
132 the related expectations Transformational leaders organize support through the collective good and a set a moral purpose for change (Fullan, 2001). The perceived characteristics in this study relate d well to a model of leadership that bui lds enthusiasm for a vision and generates momentum for constructing school change However, Fullan (2001) contended that an inspiring vision alone is not sufficient for sustained change. Respondents perceptions of leadership coincided with a suitable model of leadership that transforms individual capacity through intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. Consequently, this study supported the prevailing assumptions that multiple facets of transformational leadership are evident during school reform Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) generalized the duality of inte llectual stimulation and individualized consideration into the notion of helping people . E arlier studies were mixed in determining the comparative significance of individual and group processes in relation to the proposed model of transformational leadership. Geijsel, Sleegers, and Van den Bern (1999) found greater evidence of individual consideration and intellectual stimulation than vision, w hile Leithwood and Jantzi (2006b) attributed less significance to each in comparison to other leadership f actors. However, despite some dissension in the positional value of these two components of transformational leadership related studies maintained the importance of providing individual assistance. Consequently, t he current examination of this construct substantiated the contention that leadership support must drill down to the individual level. While improving practice is often an important aspect of change criteria, a gap ma y exist between the expectations for implementation and the efficacy of indivi dual teachers to achieve the targeted practice. Individual assistance may be overlooked in the
133 reality of making significant changes that broadly affect whole groups of teachers. Howev er, individual s may differ in their backgrounds or capabilities for change. Findings from this study substantiated the importance of transformational leadership in regards to individual teacher capacity for engaging in reform practices. Leadership that promote s personal reflection, initiate s individual dialogue, and provide s coaching assistance filter support to those on the front lines of change (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2005). As described by Leithwood and Jantzi (2006b), transfo rm ational leaders set forth the ideals of what is possible for organizations and motivate others to set new goals toward these ends The evidence from this study verified the perceptions of essential leadership characteristics that motivate and influence individuals to envision a new model of ninth grade and to set the expectations for implementation In contrast to the usual solitary dimension of teachers work th e collegial nature of teacher teams set as part of the academy format introduced a c ollective approach to routine practice Thus the nature of the academy design introduced a level of gro up dynamics into the work cul ture of ninth grade teachers. In balancing the simultaneous support of group and individual behaviors, leaders m ust walk a fine line between developing a collaborative community and individual capacity. Hence, the evidence of leadership motivation and idealized influence solidified the importance of building a collaborative environment that is steeped in communication through words and actions about what is important for students in ninth grade reform A conflicting element in the purported model of t ransformational leadership emerged through the perception of contingent reward under conditions of change. The discernment of transactional behavior interjected a singular contrast into the evidence that
134 otherwise largely supported a transformational framework Most research in recent years has focus ed largely upon transformational leadership in regards to innovation without regard to transactional attributes (Geijsel et al., 2003; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006a; 2006b). However, t his interest in transforming organizations to the exclusion of transactional characteristics operated in opposition to Basss contention that both forms were necessary aspects of good leaders (Bass, 1997). The transactional leader works within the constraints of the organization; the transformational leader changes the organization (Bass, 1997, p. 132). These constraints on school leaders are often constructed through l egislative mandates as well as governing policies. T he current high account ability environment holds implications for a transforming model of leadership that aspires to a moral purpose and motivates followers to work for the good of all. School leade rs that face a daily message of expectations for improvement may be guided by the prospect of benefits or sanctions in connection to state and federal evaluations of schools. Such an environment may serve to set the stage for negotiated rewards or consequences for employee contributions to such evaluations. As Bass (1997) explained, contingent reward refers to the degree to which the leader clarifies expectations and establishes rewards when followers meet these expectations (p. 65). Therefore, this co ntrast in the evidence for a transformational framework of leadership may reflect a current context of high accountability standards that is a reality in the current operation of public schools. While this aura of contingency may seem outside the mold of transforming schools the interplay between reform efforts and associated outcomes sets a conditional background for most school improvement efforts
135 As anticipated, passive/avoidant behaviors of leadership were rarely in evidence in the perceptions of teachers in this study. This form o f leadership was represented by the two subcomponents, management by exception (passive) and laissezfaire Passive/avoidant leaders typically delay a ddressing organizational issues and avoid initiating intervening actions until necessary. Usually referred to as nonleadership, this style has negative implications for school leade rship. Certainly, this leadership style has received little attention in recent research and operates in contrast to the transformational model of leadership that is more conduc ive to facilitating change. Relationship of leadership style and commitment to change Leithwood (2007) conceptualized leaders hip as a venue for providing direction and influence with the intended purpose of organizational improvement. H ence, leadership becomes a catalyst for igniting the capacity and commitment of others across the organization ( Marks & Printy, 2003). In this study the emergent framework for leadership was concerned with the attributes and behaviors related to changing the paradigm of a uniform high school structure. The commitment of teachers was discerned in light of a three component model of commitment denoted as affective, normativ e, and continuance This study examined these two human aspects of change together in light of a theoretical f ramework of an interdependent model of transformational leadership and commitment. Individuals who express affective commitment subscribe to a mindset that extends beyond self interest to the good of the larger organization. In a similar manner, transformational leadership p romotes a vision oriented toward the betterment of the organization and motivates followers to meet the expectations aligned with organizational
136 goals. Prior research established a link between the altruistic elements of leadership and affective commitment Leith wood et al. (1994) and later Herold et al. (2008) portrayed this link in the form of higher levels of affective commitment in connection to greater displays of transformational leadership While this interaction between leaders and followers has been asso ciated with advancing change, less w ell understood is the intervening place that normative commitment holds in the context of change. In regard for the considerable investment across a Florida school district t o cap the flow of students into the dropout phenomenon, the potential connection between leadership and teacher co mmitment to reform measures was a driving concern for this study. T his research examine d the perceptions of teachers in one Florida district in light of an ideal framework of transformational leadership and affective commitment. Wh ile a system wide approach to teachers perceptions of transformational leadership and affective commitment di splayed no significant connections, some supportive details were delineated to the compone nt level of this leadership style. T he results of this study also brought out an array of contrasting evidence for normative commitment and transformational and transactional leaderships, thereby expanding the base of information on the interdependent nature of leadership and commitment. T he current study failed to fully support the proffered model of high levels of affect ive commitment in accordance with substantial measures of transformational leadership H owever, at the co mponent level, some marginal evidence emerged in regards to intellectual stimulation and affective commitment. This component of leadership highlights an interactive setting that promotes teachers critical reflection and dialogue about what is important for students. Reflective activities are indicative of the
137 importance of community discourse about beliefs and expectations for student learning (Lawrence, 2006; Strike, 2008). Yu et al. (2002) pointed out that transformational leaders challenge teachers to rethink their assumptions about teaching practices and to discern the changes necessary for developing new methods. The system wide implementation of collaborative teaming in ninth grade academies provides a possible venue for engaging teachers in intellectual interactions T ransformational leadership purportedly stimulate s a more affective orientation to change through engaging teachers voices around important issues Thus, teachers can benefit from the empowerment to analyze and refine practice which may well t ranslate into greater buy in to the reform process. In this study, some weak connections were found for affective commitment and the individualized consideration component of transformational leadership. This transformational be havi or il luminates the relevance of leaders concern for the personal challenges and needs of those e ngaging in different routines of teaching in ninth grade reform. R espect and regard for individuals aspiring to new aspects of work underscores the effectiveness of building individuals commitment to such changes. This result posed a contradiction to the absence of any significant connection between teacher commitment a nd individualized consideration by Leithwood et al. (1994). In later research, the findings of Yu et al. (2002) also indicated an overall weak connection between transformational leadership and teacher commitment but noted stronger indirect influence s of leadership through school conditions. Both Leithwood et al. and Yu et al.s findings occurred under the conditions of variable change goals rather than a comprehensive reform model Thus, this divergence from earlier research m ay lie in a
138 commonality of issues encountered during the system wide implementation across one Florida s chool district. Effective leaders of change understand that the process of change is neither simple nor immune from intervening influences. The passage of time alone may chip away at teachers resolve to stay the course for change. While desi red types of commitment to school reform may be in evidence at one point in time, there remains a general acknowledgment that reform is difficult to sustain. Eliminating this shadow over the prospect of longterm change requi res the diligence of leaders i n maintaining an eye on the prize. Professional collaboration offers one viable means of perpetuating a central focus on academy implementation. The reform model of ninth grade as a smaller community provides a structure conducive to collaborative activities. Consequently, the presence of a weak connection of affective commitment to both intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration presented a rational basis for further study on the value of f requent conversations and interaction s among those involved in the work for change A focus on a collegial environment may serve to accommodate common concerns for academy development as well as individual needs. These behaviors keep the vision and purpose of change at the forefront of daily routines. In light of the recent trend for multiple entry routes into the teaching profession, t he relevance of the results of this study posed some concern for the legitimacy of a teaching base that is increasingly populated by individuals with noneducation backgrounds. Often termed as alternatively certified teachers, individuals with a bachelors degree may obtain a Florida professional teac hing certificate through the completion of a program that is based upon the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices.
139 This alternative means of licensure is dependent u pon individuals demonstrated competency in the twelve accomplished practices rather tha n through completion of a college or university based teacher preparation program The Florida school district in this study has followed the trend set by the state for increasing the teacher workforce through means of alternative certification. Accord ing to the National Center for Education Information, approximately 9,390 teachers were licensed in Florida by alternative routes during the period of 20042009. While exact numbers of alternatively certified teachers were not available from this F lorida school district, one high school in the study indicated that approximately one fourth of its staff w as alternatively certified. Without a theoretical foundation for classroom practice as provided in the traditional route to teacher certification alternatively licensed teachers may struggle to a level of commitment that ingrains new beliefs into the reality of teachers work. Such teachers may place greater demands on school leaders in regards to personal relationships, support mechanisms, and sensitivity to individual effe cts of change. Evidence from this study pointed to the potential benefit of raising the level of teacher leader interactions that revolve around the process of change thereby elevating the investment and commitment of teachers t o reform goals. Emerging outside the desired parameters of affective commitment and transformational leadersh ip, perceptions of normative commitment in relation to transfor mational leadership offered contrast ing evidence to the proffered model of leadershi p and change. T he reported presence of this form of commitment pose d some incongruence to an interpre tation that closely aligns affective commitment with transformational leadership. Gellatly, Meyer, and Luchak (2006) proposed that
140 normative commitment m ay be a conditi onal mindset that is susceptible to the context ual influence of the other two forms of commitment. Under the influence of affective commitment, Gellantly, Meyer, and Luchak (2006) described normative commitment as a sense of moral imperativ e. Similarly, affective commitment arises from a set of personal values and beliefs. Hence a strong thread of affect ive commitment interwoven with the moral intentions of normative commitment creates a context of dual perspectives. In this line of reasoning, the emergence of normative commitment in concert with perceived transformational characteristic s may have attenuated the expected association of a ffective commitment with transformational leadership. The evidence offered a weak perceptual connec tion for an obligation to change and transformational characteristics that instill a sense of pur pose a nd inspiration for change These perceived characteristics suggested leadership that engenders respect and confidence for pursuing reform measures. At the heart of each change initiative should be a vision and conviction of what that organization can become (Calabrese, 2002). Inspiring a nd empowering others toward a new vision is a central premise of a theoretical model of transformational leadership (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006b). While no relevant connection was found for the transformational characteristic of vision and affective commitment, the results of the study indicated an intervening relatio nship between this element of transformational leade rship and normative commitment Leadership with a new vision encourages others to see things differently. Calabrese (2002) pointed out the effectiveness of creating mental models to develop a basis for common interpretation of reform events and to cushion initiatives from intervening influences.
141 Th is research underscored the theoretical significance awarded to vision. Leithwood and Jantzi (1994) along with Parish et a l. (2008) noted the importance of maintaining a focus on vision in building the commitment of others. Actions speak as clearly as words in putting new ideals before all school stakeholders. Consequently, t he perceived transformational behaviors entwined with an obligation to change a lluded to a communicated vision and purpose for ninth grade reform. Hence, the evidence provided a basis for speculation that normative commi tment may coincide with the transformational dimension of leadership in changing the paradigm of secondary schooli ng. T he divergent thinking that typically drives significant reforms such as academy development requires that leadership develop consensus around a different conception or mission of what is to be accomplished. Hence, t he value of producing better outcomes for high school students lies not with a few but with the vision of all involved. Leaders that transform organizations set hi gh expectations for change while building the capacity of those that accomplish the routine work of change. Molding the mindset of others to a new purpose underscores the mission of transformational leaders to chart a successful course for change. In prior research on change and the differ ences among the types of commitment, Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) affirmed that affective and normative commitment each contributed to the endorsement of change and to positive levels of engagement in the work for change Subsequently, either type may produce sufficient outcomes for reform initiatives. Thus, the model of affective commitment and transformational leadership may not be sufficient to explain all aspects of transformation al leadership and commitment. Perceived leadership characteristics that
142 paint a clear vision of desired outcomes and inspire others to that end may al so influence others to take up an obligat ory mantle of commitment to reform work While Raffery and Griffin (2004) did not report a positive relationship bet ween vision and employee com mitment, their research omitted normative commitment from consideration with a focus on affective and co ntinuance in a study across an Australian public sector organization. However, t he present r esearch in a setting of system wide reform brought out some interactive connections between the perceived characteri stics of transformational le aders hip and normative commitment that warrant further consideration. I mportant to these findings also, is the overall district message for ninth grade reform. This top level of support for change may have contributed to the emergence of a relationship b etween leadership and an obligation to change. Even though this researcher had sought to reveal a strong underlying thread of affective commitment in the wake of transformational influence, the results failed to fully support this endeavor. However, in the reality of a high stakes environment t he relationship of leadership and commitment may be partly influ enced by the parameters of negotiated responsibilities for implementation. In contrast t o an anticipated evidence of transformational leadership this study revealed a positive relationship between respondents perceptions of contingent reward and normative commitment. As a subscale of transactional leadership, contingent reward presents the negotiation of rewards or ne gative consequences for employee performance. The p erceived transactional characteristics depicted behaviors that set performance expectations for teachers in anticipation of the beneficial outcomes from successful reform Thus, the evidence suggested a system wide condition of leader follower
143 negotiations for performance and associated rewards. Reinforcement for completion of tasks can be materialistic or symbolic in nature and either immediate or delayed (Bass, 1997, p. 132). Bass (1997) conceptualized that transformational and transactional leadership augment ed each other, and later Goodwin, Wofford, and Whittington (2001) proposed that the provision of rewards for performance may be an extension of the convergence of personal investment s by both leaders and followers toward the collective vision. More recently, Chan, Lau, Nie, Li m, and Hogan (2008) attested to the implementation of a reward system for building teacher commitment This may be particularly true in states such as Florida, which are ranked at the bottom half of the states for teachers salaries. Further distinctions of reward for change were represent ed by the possibility for tangible compensations for teachers. Improving schools in Flor ida offers opportunity for earn ing state incentive money in accordance with Floridas school evaluation system as well as the potential for additional technology tools for teachers in the five newly constructed ninth grade academies. Rather than a distinct demarcation between the two styles of leadership, the lines between transformational and transactional behaviors may remain blurred in relation to this studys findings. The current accountability standards that drive many aspects of decisions for improvement initiatives carry with them c onsequences for success or failure. Incentive monies for schools and teachers al ong with evaluative processes for teacher s performance tie consequential outcomes to the success or failure of organizational goals. A logical extension follows that conditi ons outside the scope of this study may have interacting influences on the relationship between leadership and the commitment of teachers to engage in school reform.
144 In general this study did not support the identified model of high transformational leader ship in connection to high levels of affective commitment. The evidence provided some weak association s of affective commitment to intellectual consideration an d individualized consideration as specific components of transformational leaders hip. As detailed earlier, the evidence pointed to the importance of individual de velopment and concern for changing the dynamics of teachers practice. T his research extended the earlier work on transformational leadership and commitment to include normative and continuance commitments as well as the addition of transactional and passive/avoidant leadership. M ore specifically, a comparative study was undertaken regarding perceptions of leadership and commitment in relation to a proposed framework of transformatio nal lead ership and affective commitment under conditions of change. Expanding the consideration of comm itment and leadership offered opportunity to extend the i nterpretation of these two constructs. Although limited in the strength of significance, the evidence of normative commitment and different aspects of transformational and transactional leadership confirm ed the potential for further study and opened up concern that this association has not broadened into the affective domain. However, earlier research was not subject to an educational terrain that has been heavily burdened with multiple levels of accountability. Leadership outcomes and school reform The MLQ (5 X) instrument produced indicator for teachers extra effort along with perceptions of satisfaction for leadership methods and effectiveness. Each of these outcomes has been identified as a responsive measure to transformational leadership (Avolio & Bass, 2004). Transformationa l leadership demonstrates attributes that hav e proven effective in raising the motivation of
145 others to efforts beyond the expect ed performance level and contribute s to intrinsic satisfaction (R afferty & Griffin, 2004). By constructing a supportive culture transformational leaders hip creates conditions that elicit greater effort from individual members (Bass & Avolio, 2004). Overall, this study reinforced the literature in regards to satisfaction, leadership effectiveness, and extra effort in the presence of the domain of transformational leadership. As expected in the proximity of transformational leadership sufficient levels of leadership effectiv eness were perceived by respondents in t his study. E ffective leaders understand and strive to meet both organizational and individual needs. Transformational leaders effectively set high expectations and provide individual and collective support to meet intended goals. A culture emerges that is bounded by high ideals, ethical behavior, and authentic relationships. Subsequently, employees express increased willingness to adhere to the defined parameters of their work and derive satisfaction from leaders methods (Masood et al., 2006). A school envi ronment that is conducive to undertaking a different perspective of schooling and the requisite leadership methods to facilitate that end become increasingly s ignificant in schools undergoing important change. Altering the conventions of high school along with the mode of individuals routine work was inherent in the process of implementing reform measures for ninth grade. The accompanying evidence of transformational leadership in this study offers the potential for the requisite environment for effectiveness in the system wide implementation of ninth grade reform Transformational leaders hip inspire s belief in a vision, provide s individual support, and exhibit s confidence in followers thereby contributing to positive percept ions
146 of work conditions (Masood et al., 2006; Rafferty & Griffin, 2004). Perceptions of satisfaction with leadership methods were shown under the conditions of system wide reform While satisfaction is an encouraging attribute of t hose working toward academy implemen tation, teacher s are not insulated from mitigating influences. Contextual beliefs or environmental conditions may exert intervening influences on perceived levels of satisf action Moreover, i ndividuals at the l ower experience level or those licensed through alternative means may be less intuitive regarding leadership methods and thus more prone to positive impressions. Transformational leaders empower others to become partners and collaborators in working toward successful change (Ma rks & Printy, 2003). As a vested partner in the process of change, teachers may put forth efforts beyond the expected to ensure measures of success. By virtue of the extent of changes in connection to academy implementation, a reservoir of extra effort o n the part of teachers is necessary to carve out a smaller school model. Thus, an interpretation of extra effort may have been somewhat confounded by the prescribed expectations for nonconventional strategies. The study substantiated expressions of extr a effort but not at the expected level for transformational leadership However, an assumption seems reasonable that as change proceeds subsequent extra effort may fluctuate throughout the ongoing reform process The evidence for satisfaction, extra effort, and leadership effectiveness indicated potent ially supportive attributes in accordance with the perceptions of transformational leadership Through the intended goals of ninth grade reform the traditional view of secondary school practices was re designe d in the image of an academy format. Chang es in the conventional norms at the high school level such as a collaborative rather than a
147 content based approach to classroom routines and a hol istic rather than monocular view of students performance placed constra ints on teachers to redefine certain aspects of teaching. This studys evidence of leadership outcomes indicated perceptions of a supportive culture which bode s well for encouraging teachers to persist in the overall goals of ninth grade re form. Conclusion In light of the emphasis on continuous improvement in schools, this study focused on the important nature of leadership and commitment, individually, and in connection with each other. This investigation relied upon the perceptions of teachers involved in the work of a system wide approach to ninth grade reform. An examination of commitment and perceptions of leadership in comparison to the prescribed conceptual model of affective commitment and transformational leadership formed the backbone of this study. Commitment to change has been established as an indicator for behavioral intent to support change (Fedor et al., 2006; Herold et al., 2008; Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). A three fold standard of commitment was established to measure individuals perspectives of change. A ffective commitment denotes a positive affiliation while normative represents an obligation, and continuance concerns cost avoidance in reference to individuals orientation to c hange. In this study, an affective perspective was prominent in the results for commitment. Theoretically, this evidence represents a genuine belief in the value of a district wide reform of nint h grade. However, the merit of this result was diminished somewhat by the generally prevailing view of this r eform as a positive benefit across district high schools.
148 This study examined the perception of transformational leadership in system wide change. Teachers viewed leadership as communicating a vision of ninth grade reform, setting high expectations for achievement of reform goals, and e stablishing practices to promote critical reflection and professional concern. Together, these traits align with a framework of leadership t hat depicted transformational characteristics as most favorable for change. Perceptions of satisfaction and leadership effectiveness compared well to the expected outcomes of leadership with a marginal match for the perceptions of extra effort. The interjec tion of contingent reward w ithin the related perceptions produced one contrast to the evidence of a perceived mode of transformational leadership. This study failed to fully support a model of high affective commitment in connection with high transformational leadership. However, w eak associations of affective commitment with both intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration did reveal some marginal evidence for the model. This consistency with the model pointed to the value of promoting critical reflection on practice and providing individual support for new avenues of work. Weak evidence of an association between normative commitment and transformational leadership revealed potenti al outlying contingencies to the accep ted commitment leadership model Limitations of the Study Descriptiv e statistics are used to explore the basic features of data (Gay & Airasian, 2003). This data was restricted to a system wide examination of leadership and change and thus, may only be generalized to other participants in this initia tive. This study was limited by the analysis of views that may not have adequately represented a crosssection of the entire sample of ninth grade teachers. Teacher respondents could not
149 be assumed to adequately represent all high school s and teachers w ith a generally positive view of leadership may have been more inclined to participate. In addition, this study did not take non compliance into consideration. This study was further limited by the examination of a single moment in the continuum of the change process rather than multiple research interactions. In actuality, teachers perceptions may differ over time and in accordance with changing conditions. Only principal leadership was presented for teacher consideration with the ex clusion of ot her positions of leadership that might exist at the secondary level. Thus, the attenuating influence of the roles of assistant principals, deans, and lead teachers were extraneous conditions that may have impacted the results. The study was further limit ed by strict reliance upon teachers reported commitment without secondary input from school leaders. The study used a single instrument that utilized closed response items without open items for elaboration of input from participants. The instrument encompassed a wide range of leadership behavior s Delineation to targeted aspects of leadership would have provided a better focus on specific leadership characteristics. A definitive sample of teachers from 14 high schools in a single school district limi ted the sample size. Generalizations from this research were restricted by the nature of the unique sample employed in this research. Implications for Practice Many change initiatives fail to be sustained over time. While multiple roles exist for school leaders, the principal provides the anchor point for new directions undertaken by schools. From this study, a ll elements of transformational leadership as well as contingent reward emerged as perceived l eadership char acteristics in schools undergoing
150 ninth grade reform University educational leadership programs should thoroughly familiarize future school leaders with the process of change in preparation for an educational environment that places considerable emphasis on continuous improvement. University coursework should integrate the practical as well as theoretical framework for the role of leadership in school change. District level professional development for scho ol leaders should further emphasize those lead ership characteristics that are proven effective for co nditions of change. Furthermore, individuals in positions to place leaders into schoo ls embarking upon a path of significant changes may do well to attend to both transformational and transactional qualities in those assignments. In particular, leaders who are visible and actively build relationships with o thers engender commitment to identified purposes. P ractices for teacher placement into school s in need of improvement should consider matching personal vision to those of the organiz ation Such schools are typically constrained by timelines for targeted improvement goals thus creating urgent needs for the appropriate placement of human resources in to those schools. Collins (2005) summed up the importance of individuals by emphasizing that first, get the right people on the bus (p. 13). This study provided some cautionary notes to district and school level leadership in the development of large scale initiatives in the district. Vigilance is necessary to the c hallenges that may emana te from inside or outside of schools to impede the progress of successful implementation In parti cular, a mode of continuous learning is a concern for the ongoing development of individuals involved in change. Furthermore, challenges may arise throu gh the divergence in educators focus when encountering an array of
151 school improvement demands. T he district must be cognizant that multiple layers of re form may subvert the system wi de attention to the ninth grade initiative. Large scale reform that flows in a top down manner necessitates the systematic involvement at all levels of stakeholders. The evidence of transformational l eadership indicated one mode of promotion for a vision and course of action for ninth grade teachers. In addition, the emergence of contingent reward signified that teachers commitment was related, in part to a potential reward for change While teachers represented one level of investment in this reform, the groundwork was not developed across all groups involved in its implementation. Rather than a grassroots effort, this initiative was fashioned in the image of model schools outside the district. A lthough a steering committee of district and school level administration was formed, teacher voice was absent from the mix. Attention to a collaborative relationship that encompassed di strict and school leadership along with teachers may have set a more solid foundation for successful implementation. Engaging the expertise and decisionmaking skills of each group distributes the responsibility and leadership across all levels of stakeholders. As noted by Meier (2006), successful school reform is best approach through a sense of coownership of leadership. Thus, the evidence of this study that failed to support high affective commitment in combination with high transformational leadership points to a reconsideration of the different leadership roles in developing change. Implications for Future Research While transformational leadership has been linked in general to effective change, examinations of leadership style and specific change initiativ es has not received
152 sufficient attention (Herold et al., 2008). Studies such as this one may prove valuable to districts en gaging in large scale change. F urther investigations of the intersection of a specific change and leadership are necessary to bette r understand leaders attributes that emerge in the implementation process and the resulting connection to teachers attitude toward that process. In addition, mediating factors, such as inschool conditions and external influences should be considered for their direct or indirect impact on teacher commitment. Future studies might consider a longitudinal examination of a single model of change to determine long term evidence of teacher commitment and if time is a factor that influences such commi tment A focus on one school site may also deepen the level of information on commitment and leadership over time. Another recommendation for future studies is to reduce the dimensions of school leadership to one or two styles in regards to the relationship to commitment. Teacher variables such as age, gender, years of experience, and method of teacher certification may add information as to groups of individuals most committed to change initiatives. Further investigation s should be undertaken to explore the interacting variables of teacher motivation and self efficacy in connection to teacher commitment and leadership. Given that improving student achievement is the main intention of school improvement efforts, this intended outcome shoul d be examined for possible influence s by teacher commitment and leadership
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171 Appendix A : Questionnaire for School Change Thank you for responding to the items below. You are participating in a research study on the impact of leadership and teacher commitment in the large scale change of Freshman Academies. Participation is voluntary and you may choose to withdraw at any tim e. All information will be confidential and represented anonymously in any subsequent use of this data. By regulation, all research records must be kept confidential and securely stored. By beginning this questionnaire, you acknowledge that you have read t his information and agree to participate. Section I Individual Commitment to Change Directions: The purpose of this section is to determine individual commitment to change during the implementation of the Freshman Academy. P lease read the following statements and circle the number that indicates the degree to which you agree disagree with each statement. There are no correct or incorrect responses. All responses are anonymous. Use the following scale: 1= Strongly Disagree 2= Disagree 3= Neither Agree 4= Agree 5=Strongly Agree nor Disagree 1. I believe in the value of this change. 1 2 3 4 5 2. I would feel guilty about opposing this change. 1 2 3 4 5 3. This change is a good strategy for this organization. 1 2 3 4 5 4. It would be too costly for me to resist this change. 1 2 3 4 5 5. I do not feel it would be right of me to oppos e this change. 1 2 3 4 5 6. This change serves an important purpose 1 2 3 4 5 7. I have too much at stake to resist this change. 1 2 3 4 5 8. I feel obligated to support this change. 1 2 3 4 5 9. Things will be better because of this change. 1 2 3 4 5 10. I feel a sense of duty to work for this change. 1 2 3 4 5
172 11. I feel pressure to go along with this change. 1 2 3 4 5 Section I I School Leadership Directions: The purpose of this section is to gain your impressions of the principal leadership in your school during ninth grade reform into a school within a sch ool also termed a ninth grade academy. Please read the following statements and circle the number that indicates how frequently each statement fits the person you are describing. There are no correct or incorrect responses. All responses are anonymous. Use the following scale: 1= Not at A ll 2= Once in a While 3= Sometimes 4= Often 5= Frequently if not Always 1. Provides me with assistance in exchange for my efforts 1 2 3 4 5 2. Re examines critical assumptions to determine whether 1 2 3 4 5 they are appropriate 3. Fails to interfere until problems become serious 1 2 3 4 5 4. Focuses attention on irregularities, mistakes, an d 1 2 3 4 5 deviations from standards 5. Avoids getting involved when important issues arise 1 2 3 4 5 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.
173 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. (The publication of the survey for leadership is restricted to five survey items as specified by the agreement for survey use.) Copyright 1995, 2000, 2004 by Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio Section III. Demographic Information (circle one response for each) Age: Under 30 3039 4049 5059 60+ Gender: Male Female Years of experience as an educator: Under 10 10 15 1620 2125 +26 Most recent school grade: A B C D F Ethnicity: White nonHispanic African American Hispanic Asian Other___________
174 Appendix B : License Agreement s For use by Deborah Kindel only. Received from Mind Garden, Inc. on September 1, 2010 1995 Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass. All Rights Reserved. Instrument: Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Authors: Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass Published by Mind Garden, Inc., www.mindgarden.com To w hom it may concern, This letter is to grant permission for the above named person to use the following copyright material; for his/her thesis research. For use by Deborah Kindel only. Received from Mind Garden, Inc. on September 1, 2010 Permission for Deborah Kindel to reproduce 350 copies within one year of September 1, 2010 Copyright 1995 Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass. All Rights Reserved. License Agreement LICENSEE Name: Deborah Kindel Organization: University Of South Florida Address: Project: TCM Employee Commitment Survey Academic Package Academic Researcher License for Use of the Survey in a Single Research Project (Academic Users Guide Dec 2004.pdf) Date: April 10, 2010 9:31:02 PST TCM EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT SURVEY LI CENSE AGREEMENT FOR ACADEMIC (RESEARCH) USE
175 Appendix C : District Approval Form
About the Author Deborah Kindel received a B achelor s Degree in Z oology from the University of South Florida in 1973. In 1987, she obtained Florida teacher certification. She later earned a M.Ed. in Mathematics Education in 1995 and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership in 2002. She began her educational career in middl e school teaching science. After five years, she moved to the high school level where she taught mathematics for seven years. During this time, she obtained the credential of national certification. In 2003, she acquired the position of high school assi stant principal. Sh e entered the program for a Doctorate in Education at the University of South Florida in 2007.