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September 1, 1992
Vol. 50
No. 1

How Do You Measure Shared Decision Making?

The Teacher Involvement and Participation Scale helps schools assess eight dimensions of the decision-making process.

Assessing teacher participation in shared decision making can be difficult. But such assessment is necessary to relate shared decision making to the progress and achievement of schools. We believe our instrument, the Teacher Involvement and Participation Scale, version 2 (TIPS 2), can provide schools with the evaluation information they need.

Developing TIPS 2

As researchers and practitioners, we approached the development of this instrument with two distinct purposes. First, we wanted to collect data on what is actually happening with shared decision making in the field. Second, we wanted to develop an instrument that would enable practitioners to assess the dimensions of decision making already in place and plan for implementation of those that weren't. We also included a section on demographics for those who wanted to analyze results for particular segments of the school community.

Eight Dimensions

  • Goals/Vision/Mission: the degree to which teachers are involved in framing the goals and mission of the school.
  • Facilitating Procedures and Structures: the degree to which teachers have adequate time, reduced teaching loads, waivers from contracts and regulations, and changed schedules to permit collegial work to occur.
  • Curriculum/Instruction: the degree to which teachers participate in determining the school program, curriculum goals, textbook selection, educational materials, and classroom pedagogy.
  • Budgeting: the degree to which teachers participate in matters related to designing and implementing the school budget.
  • Staffing: the degree to which teachers are involved with the administration in making decisions such as recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and assigning staff.
  • Staff Development: the degree to which teachers can design and implement staff development activities that meet their own needs.
  • Operations: the degree to which teachers are involved in managing the building (its use, improvement, and maintenance).
  • Standards: the degree to which teachers share in setting standards for their own performance and for student performance and discipline.
Items on the TIPS 2 Instrument are rated on a Likert Scale from one to five indicating level of teacher participation in each decision during the past year. (The scale ranges from “almost never” to “almost always.”) TIPS 2 has demonstrated high reliability and validity for the instrument as a whole and in each of the dimensions. See the box for a sample from two of the items.

T.I.P.S. 2: Teacher Involvement and Participation Scale, Version 2

This instrument is designed to measure the involvement of teachers in decision making. Please read each statement carefully. Circle the number that indicates the degree to which you believe teachers in your school participated in each decision during the past school year.

How Do You Measure Shared Decision Making? - thumb

Almost Never




Almost Always

I. Goals/Vision/Mission
1. Teachers have developed the same shared vision for this school.12345
2. Teachers participate in the goal setting process for the school.12345
3. Teachers help to establish school priorities.12345
4. Teachers as a group accept the school's goals.12345
5. Teachers are able to get other teachers to support their vision of the school.12345
6. Teachers are able to get administrators to support their vision of the school.12345
7. The school's goals are consistent with my vision of this school.12345
8. Teachers contribute to the development of a plan to meet the school's goals.12345
9. Teachers play an active role in evaluating school goals.12345
II. Standards
10. Teachers working together set their own work standards.12345
11. Teachers contribute to the standards set for discipline in the school.12345
12. Teachers set standards for their students' work.12345
13. Teachers help to set standards for student promotion and/or retention.12345
14. The school staff assumes responsibility for student performance.12345
Copyright © 1992 John J. Russell.

Assessment and Evaluation

TIPS 2 is useful in evaluating shared decision making in general and in each of the eight key areas. Several types of interpretations are possible.
For example, teachers and administrators can complete TIPS 2, and their results can be compared. TIPS 2 can be used to assess inter-school differences and also to measure intra-school teamwork. We like the idea of using TIPS 2 to see whether teachers perceive the time spent in school committee meetings, team planning time, and districtwide reform teams as “being part of the real process.” Ongoing evaluation is possible by using the instrument to collect baseline, formative, and summative data.

Training and Planning

Since the eight key areas on TIPS 2 emerged from the literature, they yield important information about training needed for shared decision making. For example, as more discussion emerges on the national level on “world class standards,” those involved at the local level will need training in setting and assessing standards at the school site. TIPS 2 can provide information on this dimension of schooling. Each of the key areas of TIPS 2 can be used in a similar way to plan training.
The eight dimensions also represent areas that could form a useful planning model. TIPS 2 can be used to collect baseline data and identify issues that need attention. Or, the instrument may be adapted to include a place for respondents to indicate which key areas they feel are important. Staff developers can then plan training that teachers will be interested in. For example, the busy staff of a school with several curriculum innovations under way might have little or no interest in spending time on the dimension of “operations.”
Practitioners and researchers will probably find many uses for the instrument beyond our original recommendations. Further information is available from RBG Associates, P.O. Box 182, New City, NY 10956.

Conley, S. C., and S. B. Bachrach. (1990). “From School-Site Management to Participatory School-Site Management.” Phi Delta Kappan 71, 7: 539–544.

David, J. L. (1989). “Synthesis of Research on School-Based Management.” Educational Leadership 46, 8: 45–47, 50–53.

Sirotnik, K., and R. Clark. (1988). “School Centered Decision Making and Renewal.” Phi Delta Kappan 69, 9: 660–664.

John J. Russell has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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