Diffusion of a professional innovation among public school districts in Texas



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The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the diffusion of CBTE among selected public school districts throughout the state of Texas, (2) investigate the relationship between diffusion (adoption) of CBTE and variables descriptive of the superintendent (chief administrator) and the school district, and (3) predict an adoptive score for school districts by use of regression analysis. The following relationship was hypothesized: A[subscript CBTE] = (f) [gamma] + BlXlB2X2...BnXn + u Where A = Adoption of CBTE [gamma] = constant term X1 = nearness of school district to colleges/universities or other school districts that have adopted CBTE X2 = size of school district (ADA) X3 = community population density in which school district is located (BMSA rating) X4 = school district norms (i.e., traditional or modem) X5 = taxable wealth of school district 3 X6 = educational expenditures of district X7 = commitment to research (per cent of budget allocated to research) X8 = cosmopolitanism of professional staff X9 = cosmopolitanism of chief administrator X10 = age of chief administrator X11 = social status of chief administrator X12 = education chief administrator X13 = attitude of chief administrator toward change X14 = presence of a designated change agent u = error term. Data were gathered using a questionnaire developed for that purpose and distributed to 122 school districts throughout the State. Size of the school districts ranged from 3,450 to 198,238 in average daily attendance. Completed questionnaires were received from 95 school districts or 78 per cent of the distribution. Conclusions which resulted from findings, placed the school districts adopting CBTE in early adopter-early majority categories of a normal curve (22 per cent of school districts responding to the questionnaire had adopted the innovation). Variables chosen in simple correlation and by stepwise regression as highly related to adoption of CBTE were: size of school, district, expenditures of the school district, school district wealth, norms of the district, presence of a change agent, social status of the chief administrator, his attitude toward change, education of the chief administrator and age. Intercorrelation between independent variables was responsible for disturbance in correlations between the dependent variable and independent variables. A regression equation utilizing school district mean values for each independent variable was computed to determine an adoptive score on a scale of one to four with three and four representing adopter categories. The adoptive score for these values coincided with a mean score of all districts returning completed questionnaires. The method of analysis accounted for 39 per cent of the variance in the dependent variable attributable to independent variables. The method was highly successful compared to studies with individuals as the unit of analysis.