Implementation of the consultant teacher model in high schools: The role of principal leadership and school climate

Elaine Kostos Underhill, Fordham University


This study examines individual and combined effects of principal leadership and school climate on implementation of the consultant teacher model (CTM) by 619 mainstream academic high school teachers. To accomplish this primary goal, two objectives were set: (a) factor analyze the researcher-modified version of the CFK, Ltd., School Climate Profile to identify the specific dimensions of principal leadership and school climate, (b) develop and test an instrument (Teacher Experience Inventory) for collecting information on the level of implementation. Informed by current research on leadership and climate, the School Climate Profile was condensed to 56 items. A modified Delphi technique showed the instrument to be valid on its face. Analysis of teacher responses on a pre-test showed the modified instrument to be highly reliable (.99). Factor analysis allowed construction of a two factor model to represent the data: supportive principal leadership and considerate school climate. These factors accounted for 46% of the total variance. Review of research on implementation of special education consultation services revealed three dimensions defining this stage of the change process: knowledge, preparation and training, and organizational commitment. Dimensions were operationalized and translated into a survey instrument, the Teacher Experience Inventory (TEI). Following procedures similar to those used in modifying the School Climate Profile, the TEI was found to have face validity and a reliability of.88. Results of primary data analysis indicated a statistically significant correlation between implementation and supportive principal leadership and considerate school climate both individually and in combination. However, these relationships were not of sufficient magnitude to be practically significant. Findings were attributed to a combination of factors: (a) lack of precision of the instrument and underestimation of the relationship between change and leadership and climate, (b) organizational complexity of high schools, (c) effects of factors unique to this population of schools and teachers. Findings of secondary analyses suggested other possible influences on teacher implementation of CTM. Organizational and individual explanations were explored. Teacher age, department, and community SES were influential factors. Those most likely to participate in implementation activities or work with a consultant teacher were older teachers of English and science in higher SES communities.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Underhill, Elaine Kostos, "Implementation of the consultant teacher model in high schools: The role of principal leadership and school climate" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9304517.