Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

15893 Schools As Learning Organizations: A Cross-Cultural Validity Study of the School Success Profile Learning Organization Measure In Israel

Friday, January 13, 2012: 8:30 AM
Penn Quarter A (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Ruth Berkowitz, MA, Ph. D. candidate, Louis and Gaby Weisfeld School of Social Work, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Gary L. Bowen, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Rami Benbenishty, PhD, Professor, Bar Ilan University & Haruv Institute, Ramat Gan, Israel
Joelle D. Powers, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background and Purpose : Learning teams and communities of practice are an increasing focus of attention in school social work practice. The development of learning teams has extended beyond traditional organizations and social service agencies into the public school systems, and school social workers are being asked to identify and implement strategies to improve the working relationships among school employees. The planning and implementation of school reform efforts to increase student performance depend upon effective learning cultures and communities of practice.

Anchored in general systems and social exchange theories, the School Success Profile Learning Organization (LO) is an assessment tool developed in the US to measure the capacity of school employees to learn and effectively adopt new practices (Bowen et al., 2007). A critical test for assessment tools developed with US samples is to examine their relevance and psychometric properties when they are used in diverse environments, including cross-cultural settings.

Methods : The LO was administered to a convenient sample of 135 school employees (91.0% teachers) in three junior high and high schools in Tel Aviv, Israel. The LO contains a learning organization measure (36 items across two dimensions of actions and sentiments) and a school leadership component (20 items across four dimensions of direction, support, learning and humility). In addition, the LO includes four outcome items that assess employees' perceptions of job satisfaction, personal self-efficacy, and school performance and potential performance. Cronbach's alpha was used to examine the internal consistency for the two learning organization component measures and the four school leadership measures. The validity of the action and sentiment components was examined through zero-order correlations between the two component measures and four personal/school outcome items. In addition, zero-order correlations were run between the two components and the four school leadership components.

Results : The results were consistent with both the measurement model and the logic model that informed the development of the LO. Internal consistencies of all scales were high and ranged between .825 to .956. Results offered overall support for the construct validity of the two learning organizational factors--the higher the scores on the action and sentiment components, the more positive the reported personal and school outcomes. Additionally, the higher the scores for the four school leadership components, the higher the scores for the action and sentiment components.

Conclusions and Implications : The results support the psychometric properties of the SSP-LO for assessing the capacity of schools to function as learning organizations in Israel, and indicate strongly that this measure can be effectively transported across these cultural and national contexts. With their multisystem intervention repertoire and with the help of this assessment tool, school social workers are able to appreciate and target the school organization as a client system and guide the development of data-informed, meso-level intervention planning to create a learning climate that supports evidence based practice and school improvement.