Teachers' ̓knowledge of essential public school laws and school board policies in selected school districts in Southeast Texas

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1979

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The purpose of this study was to measure the level of teachers' knowledge of public school laws and school board policies in ten areas related to school board, school administration, and student relationships. The survey research technique was utilized to collect data from teachers. Five null hypotheses were posited and tested. The dependent variable was knowledge of school law and school board policies as reflected by the score the teacher made on the Inventory of Teacher Knowledge. The independent variables were: type of school (elementary, middle, senior high), size of school district based on gross average daily attendance, schools of varying student enrollment within a district, size of high school as determined by University Interscholastic League competition, and number of years of teaching experience. A pilot study was conducted in one school district with a sample of 80 teachers. Each item on the pilot instrument was analyzed to determine item difficulty and the split-half internal consistency method for determining reliability was used with the Spearman-Brown Prophesy Formula being applied to determine test reliability. Item validity was obtained by comparing the upper and lower twenty-seven percent of the scores and applying the Flanagan Table of Values of the Product-Moment Coefficient of Correlation in a Normal Bivariate Population Corresponding to Given Proportions of Success. The mean, median, standard deviation, standard error of measurement, and range of scores were reported for the pilot. The sample consisted of 396 teachers in 15 school districts within the area served by Region IV Education Service Center, Houston, Texas. Two instruments, designed by the author, were used to collect data: Teacher Demographic Questionnaire and the Inventory of Teacher Knowledge. The Teacher Demographic Questionnaire is a one-page, 14 item checklist used to obtain information necessary for the identification of the five independent variables. The Inventory of Teacher Knowledge is a 100- item objective test designed to measure a teacher's level of knowledge in ten different areas of public school law and school board policies. Data was collected in the Spring, 1979, semester near the end of the school term, after all in-service training programs had been completed. Four-hundred-fifty packets were disseminated in 15 school districts in Southeast Texas. Three-hundred-ninety-six teachers returned the instruments. The high rate of return is account for in that the instruments were hand delivered and picked-up by the author or a representative. Analysis of variance was applied to the null hypotheses in the study. The .05 level of significance was set as the criterion for the acceptance of an hypothesis. A significant difference was found in the level of knowledge of public school teachers and the type of school in which they taught. No significant differences were found in the level of knowledge of teachers and the size of the school district based on gross average daily attendance, schools of varying student enrollment within a district, size of high school as determined by University Interscholastic League competition, and years of teaching experience. The Inventory of Teacher Knowledge indicated that teachers demonstrated a greater level of knowledge in the areas of teacher rights to engage in political affairs and organizations, discharge of teachers during the school year, teacher release at the end of the school year, and cancellation of teacher certificates. Indicated areas of weakness were powers of the board of trustees, teacher liability for pupil injury, and teacher resignation.

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