Theory into practice: The realities of shared decision-making

John Joseph Russell, Fordham University


Many of the recent efforts to reform the public schools of the United States have called for teachers to be involved in decision making at the school site. While teacher participation in decision making has a great deal of popular support and intuitive appeal, the research supporting shared decision making is rather limited. A review of the literature reveals that no effective method of measuring shared decision making exists. The purpose of this study is to create a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the participation of teachers in shared decision making. A review of the literature established the empirical grounding for the subscales that comprise the instrument. A panel of experts confirmed the content validity of the instrument by reaching agreement on each of the 50 statements that makeup the eight subscales. The reliability and validity of the instrument were determined by analyzing the data obtained by having 109 teachers in five schools complete the instrument. The instrument had a Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient of.96 and each subscale had a Cronbach's alpha which surpassed the criteria of.70 established for reliability in this study. An analysis of variance was conducted and confirmed the instrument's validity in discriminating shared decision making levels among schools. The construct validity of the instrument was determined by examining the intercorrelation coefficients of each of the subscales. The final test of the instrument's validity was an analysis of each of the school's scores on the instrument and a comparison of these scores with an independent appraisal of each school's use of shared decision making. Every one of these tests confirmed that the instrument provides a reliable and valid measure of teacher participation in decision making. This instrument can be used by researchers, practitioners, and education officials to analyze teacher participation in decision making at the school site. The instrument provides a way of conceptualizing shared decision making, of measuring it, and of relating it to educational outcomes.

Subject Area

School administration|Labor relations

Recommended Citation

Russell, John Joseph, "Theory into practice: The realities of shared decision-making" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9328427.