Title

Validity and utility of the Comprehensive Assessment of School Environment (CASE) survey

Date of Award

2014

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Department

School of Education and Health Sciences

Advisor/Chair

Advisor: Carolyn R. Benz

Abstract

Despite the constant demands placed on schools to excel academically, there is a combination of core components necessary for school systems to be successful. Although schools want to offer a climate that is conducive to all of their stakeholders (staff, students, and family members) many of them strive to understand the existing climate and the impact it has on the school. Because measuring climate is difficult many schools struggle to find a valid means of gathering information in order to improve the school climate. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) designed a second version of the Comprehensive Assessment of School Environment (CASE) survey to measure school climate in 2010 (the original version was designed in 1986) and, to date, it had not been validated. According to NASSP, the information gained from the survey can be utilized by schools to make better decisions for school improvement. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the construct validity of the 2010 version of CASE through exploratory factor analysis. Additionally, the researcher also analyzed the usability of the instrument's design, clarity, and ease of use by intended stakeholders at the local school level. The entry points for data collection in schools were a national random sample of high school principals (N=28) who were members of the National Association of Secondary Principals. The principals distributed an online link to the survey to the staff, students, and parents/guardians in their buildings, consistent with the CASE design. Over 4,000 stakeholders representing 28 schools across 21 states completed the CASE survey. A four-factor solution was derived from a factor analysis of combined responses from three groups of stakeholders (students, parents, and instructional staff). The four factors retained were: (1) Savvy Teaching Practices, (2) Student Responsibility and Safety, (3) Cohesive School Relationships and Belonging, and (4) Positive Environmental Structures. Descriptive statistics were conducted to examine the utility of the CASE survey. The findings, with no mean score less than 5 (on a 6-point scale), suggest that stakeholders found the CASE survey to be a useable instrument.

Keywords

School management and organization United States, School improvement programs Evaluation, Organizational effectiveness Evaluation, Educational Tests and Measurements, Educational Leadership, Education, CASE, Comprehensive Assessment of School Environment, validity, factor analysis, utility, exploratory factor analysis, school climate, psychometric

Rights Statement

Copyright 2014, author

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