School Participant Empowerment Scale

Short, P. M., and Rinehart, J. S. (1992). School Participant Empowerment Scale. Auburn University. Mimeo.

Comments: The School Participant Empowerment Scale (SPES), a refined 38-item instrument, was developed to measure school participant (teacher) empowerment. It was designed to measure several themes such as trust, communication, structures for involvement, risk taking, and critical incidents. In addition, such themes as opportunities for decision making, control over daily schedule, opportunities for growth and development can be empowering aspects of a teacher’s job.

Scale Construction: To generate items for the original instrument, teachers were asked to list ways in which they felt empowered in the schools in which they taught. This process yielded 110 items of which 75 were judged to represent empowerment components based on the literature and past research of empowerment.

Sample: The sample consisted of 211 secondary teachers from high schools in three geographic regions—south, south- west, and the Midwest. Schools ranged in size from 70 teachers to 125 teachers.

Reliability: The total scale (38 items) alpha coefficient was 0.94. Coefficients for each of the subscales were decision- making 0.89; professional growth 0.83; status 0.86; self-efficacy 0.84; autonomy 0.81; and impact 0.82.

Validity: Content validity was determined by a panel of four judges that rated the overall representativeness of each item. From this analysis, 68 items reached general agreement. The 68-item instrument was submitted to a factor analysis from which a final 38 items were retained on six factors.

Factor Analysis: A principal component analysis followed by an oblique rotation was used. Only those items with a factor loading of 0.600 or higher were retained on the factor. This yielded six factors, which accounted for about 51 percent of the common variance. The six dimensions produced by the factor analysis are decision making (10 items); professional growth (six items); status (six items); self efficacy (six items); autonomy (four items); and impact (six items).


Hynes, J. (2004). The relationship between the dimensions of teacher empowerment and principal’s job satisfaction in elementary accelerated schools. PhD dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Keiser, C. M. (2007). The relationship between teacher empowerment and organizational commitment. EdD dissertation, University of Virginia.

Linter, J. D. (2008). The relationship between teacher empowerment and principal use of power. EdD dissertation, Auburn University. Perkins, A. (2006). The relationship between social structure and sense of empowerment for school personnel. PhD dissertation, Michigan State University.

Watts, D. M. (2009). Enabling school structure, mindfulness, and teacher empowerment: Test of a theory. EdD dissertation, University of Alabama.

School Empowerment Survey

1. I am given the responsibility to monitor programs.
2. I function in a professional environment.
3. I believe that I have earned respect.
4. I believe that I am helping kids become independent learners.
5. I have control over daily schedules.
6. I believe that I have the ability to get things done.
7. I make decisions about the implementation of new programs in the school.
8. I am treated as a professional.
9. I believe that I am very effective.
10. I believe that I am empowering students.
11. I am able to teach as I choose.
12. I participate in staff development.
13. I make decisions about the selection of other teachers for my school.
14. I have the opportunity for professional growth.
15. I have the respect of my colleagues.
16. I feel that I am involved in an important program for children.
17. I have the freedom to make decisions on what is taught.
18. I believe that I am having an impact.
19. I am involved in school budget decisions.
20. I work at a school where kids come first.
21. I have the support and respect of my colleagues.
22. I see students learn.
23. I make decisions about curriculum.
24. I am a decision maker.
25. I am given the opportunity to teach other teachers.
26. I am given the opportunity to continue learning.
27. I have a strong knowledge base in the areas in which I teach.
28. I believe that I have the opportunity to grow by working daily with students.
29. I perceive that I have the opportunity to influence others.
30. I can determine my own schedule.
31. I have the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers in my school.
32. I perceive that I am making a difference.
33. Principals, other teachers, and school personnel solicit my advice.
34. I believe that I am good at what I do.
35. I can plan my own schedule.
36. I perceive that I have an impact on other teachers and students.
37. My advice is solicited by others.
38. I have an opportunity to teach other teachers about innovative ideas.

Scoring: 1 = Strongly Disagree; 2 = Disagree; 3 = Neutral; 4 = Agree; 5 = Strongly Agree.