Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Styron

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

The topic of this dissertation is the understanding of teacher change styles to improve student achievement. Teachers from public schools in a state located in the northern plains were surveyed regarding their Change Styles (preferred approaches to change) and flexibility scores. The results were statistically analyzed to determine if there were differences in change styles and flexibility scores when compared for level of certification, gender, length of teaching career, subject area taught, and size of school in which the educator was working. The results were also analyzed for any differences in the Change Styles and flexibility scores between teachers working in Public Schools which made AYP for the 2006-2007 school year and those schools which did not make AYP for that year.

The only significant relationship found in this study was between change style and experience. Almost 89% of teachers with 16-20 years of experience chose the risker change style as their preferred approach to change. In six of the seven experience ranges teachers identified the refocuser change style as their preferred approach to change. Close to 89% of teachers with 31-35 years of experience chose the refocuser change style as their preferred way to approach change.

When the data was looked at overall, only 4.1% of respondents had a flexibility score in the high range. 25.6% of respondents had flexibility scores in the low range, 30.6% in the low to moderate range, and 39.7% in the moderate to medium high range. In all areas; certification, gender, experience, subject area, school size, and AYP; the most preferred change style was refocuser, followed by relater, reasoner and risker.

Learning about preferred change styles and flexibility could provide teachers insight into their own approach to change and give them opportunities to increase their willingness to change. Administrators who understand that a large number of teachers prefer the refocuser change style may be able to focus initial change efforts on providing the type of information preferred by the people using this style.

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