Secondary school culture and improvement: Teacher, student and parent perspectives

Year: 2001

Author: Cavanagh, Robert, Dellar, Graham

Type of paper: Refereed paper

A school improvement program was designed for a large Western Australian senior high school. This included an empirical study of learning community culture with surveying of staff, students and parents.

The School Cultural Elements Questionnaire was administered to staff (N = 77). Previous factor analysis revealed it was profiling six elements of staff perceptions of school culture. Data analysis identified professional values and an emphasis on learning as attributes of the staff. However, staff were uncertain about the presence of collegiality, transformational leadership, collaboration and shared planning.

The Classroom Cultural Elements Questionnaire was administered to students (N = 988) in a stratified sample of 53 classes. Factor analysis showed the instrument was profiling eleven constructs. ANOVA were used to examine differences due to class membership. All eleven elements varied significantly across the 53 classes

The Parental Involvement in Schooling Questionnaire was administered to parents (N = 293). Previous factor analysis revealed the instrument was profiling 10 constructs. Family and home attributes were identified as being conducive to parental involvement whereas parents perceived teacher communication with parents to be lacking.

The results provided an overview of culture of the learning community as perceived from the multiple perspectives of teachers, students and parents.