Effective School Function Inventory

Carter, J., and Michael, W. B. (1995). The development and validation of an inventory of effective school function. Educational and Psychological Measurement 55:811–17.

Comments: The 39-item inventory examines teachers’ perceptions about the effectiveness of various school operations.

The works of Miller (1992), Brown (1971), and Stoddard (1992) served as the conceptual basis for the inventory.

Scale Construction: A pilot study using a sample of 101 teachers who were not in the Distinguished Schools Group was conducted. Based on the results of item analyses, teachers’ comments, and recommendations from an expert in educational measurement, the inventory was revised. Based on the conceptual model, three broad categories were identified: framework for administrative leadership, teacher behaviors associated with significant learning outcomes, and critical commonalities contributing to broad community involvement. Each broad category contained three subcategories.

Sample: The original sample consisted of 124 teachers from 18 schools in California that were part of the Distinguished Schools Group.

Reliability: Coefficients of internal consistency ranged from about 0.60 to 0.75 for the nine subcategories.

Validity: Although there is only modest support for the construct validity of the inventory with the current sample, the use of additional samples within different settings could help to establish its construct validity.

Factor Analysis: Orthogonal varimax rotations yielded four, five, six, seven, and eight factors. Although a six-factor varimax solution was accepted, only the first four factors were easily identifiable. The six factors are: 12 items on supportive-collegial interaction (1, 2, 4, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 28, 31, 32, and 35); eight items on cooperative facilitation of goal attainment in the teaching-learning process (8, 10, 21, 22, 26, 27, 30, and 37); seven items on morally oriented leadership (3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 36, and 39); five items on instructional strategy sharing by teachers (6, 15, 18, 19, and 38); four items on teacher readiness for innovation facilitated by leadership and teacher attitude toward instruction (12, 13, 24, and 29); and three items on facilitation of professionalism (5, 33, and 34).


Brown, G. I. (1971). Human teaching for human learning: An introduction to confluent education. NY: Viking Press.

Carter, J. W. (1994). The development of a conceptual model for effective school function and the construct validation of an inventory to represent it. EdD dissertation, University of Southern California.

Miller, R. (1992). What are schools for? Holistic education in American culture. Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press. Mitchell, D. E., and Tucker, S. (1992). Leadership as a way of thinking. Educational Leadership 49:30–35.

Stoddard, L. (1992). Redesigning education: A guide for developing human greatness. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press.

Effective School Function Inventory

1. Once an initiative or curriculum project gets started, the efforts of the principal are sustained by staff and teachers.
2. Teachers are generally motivated to follow through on curriculum projects with little coercion because of the inter- personal leadership of the principal.
3. Improvement strategies tend to change the way things look, but not the way they work.
4. A widely shared philosophy exists at my school.
5. When major curriculum changes are required for improving student outcomes, small, focused efforts rather than large-scale efforts are most effective.
6. Professional standards are a part of the principal’s leadership practice.

7. At this school the moral dimension in leadership is a powerful factor as a basis for school leadership practices.
8. Our school is more of a community than an organization.
9. Leadership is an attitude that informs or directs behavior, rather than a set of discrete leadership skills or qualities, whether innate or acquired.
10. My principal’s leadership is based on an understanding of how children and adults learn and keep learning and the ability to build communities of learners.
11. My principal believes that leadership should be shared with everyone: teachers, students, parents, and community members.
12. There is an important distinction between leadership attitude and leadership skill.
13. Our school leadership is less theory and more successful practice.
14. In my school, leadership behavior focuses on quality rather than quantity outcomes.
15. Teachers who feel good about themselves and their abilities generally are those who experience success with students.
16. In our school there is a comprehensive staff development plan that gives teachers new to the system confidence and validity in their purpose.
17. At our school there is an on-site support mechanism that keeps new teachers from feeling isolated.
18. The most successful approach to learning new teaching strategies is through teacher demonstrations and sharing.
19. Teachers helping one another is the strength of new teacher survival.
20. The principal provides an opportunity for teachers to observe each other in the classroom setting.
21. The role of our principal is to build a shared understanding of the school goals so that the group will take responsibility.
22. Teachers are taught different techniques and strategies to widen their repertoires of teaching skills as a part of the principal’s staff development plan.
23. Cooperative learning is widely practiced at my school.
24. There is a direct correlation between the amount of inservice training that new teachers receive and the effectiveness of student learning.
25. Staff development at my site includes theory, demonstration, practice, feedback, and classroom application.
26. Teachers have input into what skills are part of their training plan.
27. The training provided by my school/district is the kind that could be used immediately in the classroom.
28. Implementation in the classroom of many new skills that appear worthwhile have been difficult.
29. If I do not understand and believe in the new approaches, I cannot achieve success by trying them.
30. The strongest feature of this school is a student-centered system that stimulates growth.
31. In this school teachers organize into groups to provide collegial interaction and engage in positive inquiry.
32. Groups in our school meet to share understandings, implement curriculum innovations, and collaboratively plan for school improvement.
33. Study groups contribute toward the professionalism of teachers.
34. Research forms the basis for our current school changes.
35. The principal has strong expectations for students, teachers, and himself/herself which are conveyed through fre- quent communications.
36. Moral standards are part of the principal’s leadership practice.
37. A contributing factor to school improvement is a sense of community.
38. An important role of the principal is to cultivate the leadership potential of every single employee.
39. My perception of the test scores in this school is that they have improved over the past three years.

Scoring: Strongly disagree = 1; disagree = 2; agree = 3; and strongly agree = 4.