Faculty of Regional and Professional Studies
School of Education (RPS) / Fogarty Learning Centre
This paper presents the results of an investigation into the attitudes of School Administrators to the relationship between formal school registration and school improvement. It concerns a mandatory inspection-type registration process for all Non-Government Schools in Western Australia. Part of the aim of this registration process was to help schools improve twelve educational and administrative aspects. These were: (1) School Governance, (2) School Financial Viability, (3) Enrolments & Attendance, (4) Number of Students, (5) Instructional Time, (6) School Staff, (7) School Infrastructure, (8) School Curriculum, (9) Student Learning Outcomes, (10) Care for Students, (11) Disputes and Complaints, (12) Legal Compliance. A questionnaire based on these twelve aspects was designed with five items per aspect (60 items total), conceptually ordered from easy to hard, and given to 110 administrators. It was completed by 65 administrators for a useable, response rate of 59%. The data were analysed with the Rasch model computer program RUMM2030 which accommodated the small numbers by estimating parameters even when some response cell frequencies are zero or low. It does this by re-parameterising the thresholds into principal components (not the factor analysis kind), but components that make up the structure of the threshold parameters where there are data. The frequencies are not used directly, but rather functions of the frequencies are used as the sufficient statistics for these parameters and the thresholds are recovered from these. A unidimensional, linear scale, School Administrators’ Beliefs That Actual School Improvements Were Due to Formal School Registration, was created with 48 items. The Person Separation Index of 0.86 was highly satisfactory. The item-trait interaction was 83.76, df=96 with p=0.81 supporting the creation of a unidimensional scale. The results showed that there was a group of items that administrators said were relatively easy to say that actual school improvements were due to formal registration and another group that administrators said were very hard to say that actual school improvements were due to formal registration. This study produced a new Rasch measurement for a key aspect of school improvement. It provides new insight into the policy and practice of school registration.