Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. Ben M. Harris
Dr. Velma Menchaca
Dr. Ralph Carlson
The study employs both quantitative and qualitative data to extend the work of Rosenholtz (1991) with public elementary schools and the work of Hickey (1994) with public secondary schools in trying to assess the extent to which four pre-defined socio-organizational factors predict teacher collaboration in public schools. The four socio-organizational factors include: teacher certainty about a technical culture and their instructional capability; shared instructional goals; teacher involvement in decision making about instructional matters; and teacher involvement in team teaching. The study also investigates the hypothesis that the academic departments in public secondary schools provide structures that more nearly approach the structure of entire elementary schools than do entire secondary schools and, thus, comprise units more likely to yield results similar to those found among elementary schools.
In order to explore these areas, the study addresses the following questions: (1) What is the relationship between teacher collaboration in the study's schools and the pre-defined socio-organizational conditions? (2) What is the relationship between teacher collaboration in the core academic departments within the study's high schools and the pre-defined socio-organizational conditions? (3) Compared to each other, to what extent are the study's high schools collaborative? (4) To what extent is a specified core academic department within a high school collaborative compared to the other core academic departments within the school?
After an initial process used to identify schools that knowledgeable personnel in the region deemed likely collaborative or isolated, the researcher administered a Teacher Opinion Questionnaire to determine the relative extent of collaboration in the study's schools and among the four core academic departments within each of the study's schools. To enrich the data, members from one core academic department at the most nearly collaborative and one at the most nearly isolated school responded to interview questions.
Neither the selected secondary schools nor their core academic departments demonstrated significant variation in the extent of relative collaboration and isolation. However, the four socio-organizational factors did co-vary with teacher collaboration to a significant extent, explaining more than one quarter of the teacher collaboration in the study's schools.
Although the study's quantitative data fail to provide any evidence that high school core academic departments provide units of analysis more likely to yield results similar to those from elementary schools, the qualitative data strongly indicate that high school teachers depend to a much greater extent for instructional support on their departments than on their schools as whole units.
University of Texas-Pan American