Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Marilyn Hirth

Committee Chair

Marilyn Hirth

Committee Member 1

James Freeland

Committee Member 2

Pamela M. Frampton

Committee Member 3

Deborah Bennett

Abstract

The purpose of this concurrent embedded mixed-methods study was to develop an instrument to measure principals' perceptions of teacher collaboration in their schools. The study further examined the relationship between perceptions of teacher collaboration and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. Four key components of teacher collaboration were identified through a review of the literature. Those key components of teacher collaboration included 1) Job-Embedded Collaboration Time; 2) Common Goals; 3) Results Orientation; and 4) Working Interdependently. ^ Using a survey, quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 359 Indiana elementary and middle school principals. Quantitative data on the principals' perceptions of the presence and effectiveness of the four key components of teacher collaboration were analyzed. In order to support the quantitative data and find stronger understanding of the research, qualitative data were analyzed on how principals described teacher collaboration at their schools, including what factors impeded teacher collaboration, what factors facilitated teacher collaboration, and what relationships they perceived to exist between the quality and extent of collaboration and student achievement. ^ Little variability was noted in the presence of the key components of teacher collaboration - a vast majority of the principals reported these components to be in their schools. As a result of this lack of variability, no statistically significant relationships were found between the presence of the first three key components of teacher collaboration and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. However, a statistically significant relationship was found between principal ratings on the presence of teacher collaboration teams working interdependently and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. Qualitative data revealed that having even just a few negative or difficult personalities on teacher teams can impede progress for the school. ^ When analyzing principal ratings on the effectiveness of the key components of teacher collaboration in their schools, an exploratory factor analysis enabled the researcher to find meaningful patterns within the effectiveness variables, simplify the data, and ultimately run a more meaningful multiple regression analysis. Three factors were extracted and identified as "Developing and Monitoring Specific Goals," "Trusting, Supportive Collegiality," and "Sharing Resources and Practices" and were tested in the three different hypotheses. ^ All three hypotheses tests on the relationships between the perceived effectiveness of key components of teacher collaboration and student achievement showed statistical significance. In spite of having limited variability in principal responses to the survey, all of the derived factors from the scale were significant predictors of student achievement. This study found a statistically significant relationship between principal ratings on the effectiveness of developing and monitoring specific goals and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. Likewise, this study found a statistically significant relationship between principal ratings on the effectiveness of trusting, supportive collegiality and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. Finally, it was also determined that there is a statistically significant relationship between principal ratings on the effectiveness of sharing resources and practices and student achievement as measured by the Indiana "A-F" Accountability Model. ^ An instrument with very high reliability was developed. This instrument can be used with principals to identify areas of weakness in teacher collaboration quickly and accurately. Although most principals endorsed most items, the tool clearly can be useful in self-evaluation of collaboration.