Zones of Indifference Instrument

Wilkes, S. T., and Blackbourn, J. M. (1981). The design of an instrument to measure zones of indifference of teachers to directives issued by administrators. Mississippi State University. ERIC ED 212 063.

Comments: The 78-item instrument measures the zones of indifference of teachers to directives issued by administrators. Zones of indifference describe the extent to which people will respond to orders or directives issued by authority figures. It suggests that some orders are clearly unacceptable, while some are neutral, and others are unquestionably acceptable. It is also suggested that this “zone of indifference” will be wider or narrower with different organizational members. The difference in the size of the zone is created by the degree to which inducements exceed consequences that determine the individual’s adhesion to the organization.

Scale Construction: One hundred twenty-five teachers submitted items, which eventually were categorized into two sets of items. One set explained variables describing teacher-determined practices, while the other dealt with admin- istrator-determined policy. This produced an initial instrument of 134 items.

Sample: The initial instrument of 134 items was field tested with 104 teachers in four states. Through a variety of fac- tor analytic procedures, the 134 items were reduced to a final 78-item instrument comprising a two-factor solution.

Reliability: Alpha coefficient for the total instrument was 0.95. The two subscales (factors) were 0.92 for each subscale.

Validity: Other than the factor analyses conducted, no other information on obtaining validity of the instrument was reported.

Factor Analysis: Responses to the 134-item instrument were submitted to several principal component analyses, which reduced the instrument to 80 items and three factors. Only items with loadings of 0.40 or higher were retained. With the use of image analysis and orthogonal rotation the instrument was reduced to two factors: factor 1 deals with teacher determined practices and factor 2 deals with administrator determined policy. Examples of items with high loadings on the two factors are as follows: teacher determined practices (45, 126, 128, 46, 57) and administrator determined policy (121, 102, 97, 123, 114).


Barnard, C. I. (1948). The functions of the executive. MA: Harvard University Press.

Kunz, D. W. (1973). Leader behavior of principals and the professional zone of acceptance of teachers. EdD dissertation, Rutgers University.

Zones of Indifference

1. Indicate how you would respond to the following directives issued by an administrator that would:
1. Provide for the enforcement by teachers of general rules governing student conduct at school.
2. Attempt to structure discussion of school policy, problems, or procedure by teachers with members of the community unless a positive approach is evident.
3. Establish heating and cooling regulations for the classroom.
4. Establish a procedure for teachers to “sign-in” and “sign-out” for the school day.
5. Give directions to advance a student to another level when the present progress of the student is not satisfactory.
6. Prescribe procedure for the conduct of club activities.
7. Require attendance at staff-development activities.
8. Instruct teachers to attend open house activities.
9. Establish grading procedures to be used by teachers.
10. Give directions for the changing of classroom bulletin boards at regular intervals.
11. Structure a daily morning devotional activity in the classroom.
12. Require supervision of students after school hours for those students who have to stay after school to make up assignments.
13. Require participation in the teacher evaluation program.
14. Designate specific topics to be taught at specific times.
15. Require teachers to have students recite “The Lord’s Prayer” in the homeroom or classroom.
16. Make assignment to study committees of the school.
17. Require attendance at PTA meetings.
18. Require participation in a curriculum study group.
19. Require a six-week grade report to the administration.
20. Question nonattendance of teachers at professional meetings.
21. Provide additional time for student classroom assignment conferences.
22. Structure seating arrangement of students in assemblies.
23. Insist upon personal comments on grade sheets in each instance of a decline in student achievement.
24. Require ability grouping of students.
25. Dictate the use of only adopted textbooks in the classroom.

26. Be related to membership in professional organizations.
27. Place ultimate concern on the student.
28. Determine method to be used in the handling of classroom discipline problems.
29. Prohibit students from using the library during class time without teacher supervision.
30. Require the grading of English usage in all subjects taught.
31. Direct teachers to alter records to indicate accreditation compliance.
32. Require a written proposal for all planned field trips.
33. Require written goals and objectives of teachers.
34. Prescribe testing schedules and procedures.
35. Specify methods to be used in teacher-parent relations.
36. Require maintenance of accurate school classroom records.
37. Suggest the use of a teacher’s name to order supplies for other teachers.
38. Schedule the use of planning time for supervising another teacher’s class who is out on some school activity.
39. Establish a policy of student grade reduction for unexcused absences and tardiness.
40. Forbid the use of tobacco by teachers at school.
41. Determine the time of the teachers’ workday.
42. Direct teachers to meet the parents for conference.
43. Require extra assignments that would reduce time for classroom instruction.
44. Require long-range lesson plans.
45. Select teaching procedures to be utilized in the classroom.
46. Structure the standardization of classroom furniture arrangement.
47. Provide for the monitoring of student behavior on the way to school and from school by teachers.
48. Prohibit the consumption of refreshment by teachers in the classroom.
49. Instruct teachers to teach content without regard to student acquisition level.
50. Require attendance at faculty meetings.
51. Prevent teachers from leaving school.
52. Require teacher participation in a census of school age children during or after school hours.
53. Question student religious beliefs and home life.
54. Establish directives requiring teachers to supervise school bus loading/unloading of students.
55. Establish a bimonthly teaching meeting practice.
56. Provide a list of discipline cases handled by the teacher in the classroom.
57. Require teachers to perform tasks that maintenance or custodial personnel are hired to do.
58. Schedule male/female teacher supervision of restrooms.
59. Require teachers to purchase season football tickets.
60. Establish conditions under which corporal punishment could be administered.
61. Determine the test exemption policy.
62. Excuse students from classes to attend other school sponsored activities.
63. Allow the expenditure of school funds for extracurricular activities.
64. Provide guidelines outlining student assignment requirements for classroom work.
65. Direct teachers to escort sick students home.
66. Involve altering a student’s grade.
67. Be related to teacher involvement in political activities.
68. Direct all teachers to be on duty in the halls during the changing of classes.
69. Determine the amount of planning time per week.
70. Notify teachers of grade/subject assignments.
71. Establish the practice of planning individual student lesson prescriptions.
72. Require a teacher to supervise two classes in the same period in separate rooms.
73. Constitute running errands for the administration which are unrelated to the school program.
74. Assign school related duties outside the classroom involving no students.
75. Attempt to restrict topics that could be discussed in the lounge area.
76. Outline the policy concerning attendance at work.
77. Require a very low noise level to be maintained in the classroom.
78. Instruct teachers to accept a student into class after the suspension of a student.

79. Prohibit the keeping of report cards in the classroom.
80. Establish the policy of paying substitute teachers for sponsoring club activities or other extracurricular activities.
81. Limit the number of graduate courses a teacher could be enrolled in after school hours.
82. Schedule duty assignments at times other than the required school day.
83. Allow the public to use classroom after hours.
84. Instruct each class to contribute a specified amount of money to the school activity fund.
85. Assign a student with the disciplinary record to your instructional group.
86. Prevent the early dismissal of classes by teachers.
87. Instruct teachers to monitor student classroom appearance in keeping with the school dress code.
88. Assign selected teachers to duties that are not assigned to the entire faculty.
89. Restrict students from restraining students from participation in the activity period.
90. Not allow athletes to participate in sports due to academic problems.
91. Require submission of lesson plans weekly by teachers.
92. Require strict adherence to the curriculum guide and/or daily lesson plan.
93. Structure teacher dress practices.
94. Direct all teachers to attend all school functions.
95. Structure student dress practices.
96. Require the issuance of student failure reports by teachers.
97. Require a standing position while teaching class.
98. Schedule teachers to supervise school-related meetings at school.
99. Provide the procedure for recording student absences.
100. Require attendance at an administrator/teacher conference.
101. Require the submission of absentee and tardy reports every period of the school day.
102. Make assignments of teachers as sponsors to student club activities.
103. Require teachers to use the school cafeteria for lunch.
104. Provide guidelines determining advancement and retention practices.
105. Require the use of a teaching syllabus.
106. Provide guidelines concerning the manner by which sick leave should be utilized by teachers.
107. Schedule teacher to supervise PE classes during an unassigned period.
108. Schedule the utilization of teacher aids in the classroom instead of substitute teachers when the regular teacher is not present.
109. Establish the format for written lesson plans.
110. Schedule teachers to move to different rooms for instructional purposes.
111. Direct a teacher to alter attendance reports of students.
112. Determine specific staff development activities.
113. Require teachers to perform information gathering that other professionals are employed to do.
114. Prohibit teachers from leaving the school during school hours.
115. Schedule workdays prior to the commencement of school without pay and not specified by contract.
116. Require the keeping of an extensive record of library books that are issued to students.
117. Result in the lowering of grades for poor conduct by students.
118. Establish written job descriptions for teachers.
119. Indicate that classroom materials had been selected by the administration.
120. Require teacher direction of a staff development activity.
121. Direct teachers to refrain from expressing opinions about community problems.
122. Require an instant gathering of data for office purposes.
123. Prohibit the use of corporal punishment as a method of punishment.
124. Determine the length of exams to be administered.
125. Require the maintenance of discipline of students at all times in the classroom.
126. Establish the practice for teachers to collect student activity fees.
127. Structure teacher arrival at school prior to the designated time for the beginning of the school day.
128. Schedule classroom activities by the principal.
129. Prohibit the wearing of jeans by teachers.
130. Involve a teacher administering corporal punishment to another teacher’s student.

131. Require the presence of teachers with students in the cafeteria.
132. Prohibit a teacher from being employed in another job.
133. Provide an individual teacher personnel file in the office.
134. Suggest an explanation by the teacher of personal life activities.

Scoring: 1 = A directive you would comply with without question; 2 = A directive you would comply with but mentally question the authority of the administrator to issue; 3 = A directive issued by the administrator that you mentally question the authority of, but alter the application more in keeping with what you think should be done; and 4 = A directive issued by the administrator that you question mentally and refuse compliance with unless forced to do so.