A Descriptive Approach to Measuring a School Culture Ronnie Detrich Wing Institute ABAI Seattle, Washington 2012 Goals for Today • Describe a method for directly measuring cultural practices. • Suggest analytical tasks based on the descriptive data. • Review variables that influence adoption of new practices. Why Culture Change? • Educational reform efforts often emphasize changing the culture of the school as part of change process. Recognizes the importance of social influence in schools. • Methodology for determining what practices require change or how to change the culture has not been well described. Defining Cultural Practice • Cultural practice: behavior that most members of the defined culture do. Both overt and verbal behavior. Can be measured via direct observation and indirect methods (surveys). Measurement method depends on behavior of interest. Metrics for Measuring Cultural Practice • Incidence rates: frequency that specific behaviors occur within a period of time. • Prevalence: percent of population that engages in behavior. Example • Incidence Example: CBM probes completed = 10 per 2 weeks. Goal: 20 students x 20 teachers x 2 weeks = 800 probes. • Prevalence 20% (4/20) of teachers completed at least one CBM probe in 2 week period. Goal: 100% (20/20) of teachers complete CBM probes every 2 week. Some Assumptions • If behavior occurs at high rates and has widespread prevalence it can be assumed that: There are specific contingencies within the culture that support the behavior. • Changing cultural practices requires changing the contingencies. Possible Interactions High Cultural Practice Low Cultural Practice • Inadequate Frequency Not Cultural Practice Low Prevalence High Incidence • Subset of population engages in behavior • Effective contingencies in place for this subset of culture Not Cultural Practice • No contingencies to support behavior Possible Interactions High Cultural Practice Low Cultural Practice • Inadequate Frequency Not Cultural Practice Low Prevalence High Incidence • Subset of population engages in behavior effective • Contingencies in place for this subset of culture Not Cultural Practice • No contingencies to support behavior Analytical Task High Low Prevalence High Incidence Low What contingencies support these practices? Barriers to higher frequencies? • Lack of time? • What maintains these • Lack of resources? contingencies? • Unclear expectations? Differences between high/low performers? • Training? • Experience? • Peer group? Barriers to greater prevalence/incidence? • Verbal repertoires? • Training? • Unclear expectations? Measuring Verbal Behavior • Some occasions prevalence more important measure than frequency. Verbal behavior measures Example: “attitudes” toward data-based decision making. Task is to identify breadth and depth of “attitude.” Example: Aarons (2005) measured attitude toward EBP among mental health workers. Verbal behavior does not always correspond to overt behavior. Important to measure all behavior not just verbal. Ferster (1967) what people do more important than what they say. Analyzing the Distribution 1 Strongly Agree 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Strongly Disagree Changing School Cultures 1. Begin by specifying what culture practices are to occur. 2. Measure existing culture to determine match with preferred cultural practices. 3. Cannot change culture without specific change targets. 4. Analyze possible controlling variables to initiate change process. Influencing Adoption • Harris (1979): practices are adopted and maintained to the extent that they have favorable, fundamental outcomes at a lower cost than alternative practices. • Rogers (2003): Diffusion of innovation is a social process, even more than a technical matter. • The adoption rate of innovation is a function of its compatibility with the values, beliefs, and past experiences of the individuals in the social system. Principles for Effective Diffusion: Improving the Odds (Rogers, 2003) • Innovation has to solve a problem that is important for the “client.” • Innovation must have relative advantage over current practice. • It is necessary to gain support of the opinion leaders if adoption is to reach critical mass and become selfsustaining. Example of Successful Culture Change • School-wide Positive Behavior Support Do not engage unless 80% of faculty agree to make student behavior priority for 3 years. Usually local champion responsible for bringing to school. Solutions are developed by school leadership teams. Goal is to increase local capacity.