The effect of a reform on a school organizational culture after receiving a failing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test rating

Mona Abou-Assali, Florida International University


The purpose of this research was to explore the effects of a reform that took place in an elementary school during 2000/2001 as a result of a failure rating on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test on the structure and the personnel of the organization. The exploration took place over a period of 10 months starting in August 2000 until June 2001. It focused on the effect of the failure rating on the: (a) structure and operation of the school; (b) morale, beliefs, behaviors, and daily lives of teachers and the principal; and (c) the effect of the reform effort on the leadership style of the principal, whether she became a transactional or a transformative leader. The researcher assumed the role of a participant observer. Data sources were her personal recollections of major events that took place during the year of the reform, interviews, observations, and school documents. The sample included 15 teachers present during the time of the reform. Ten taught second through fifth grade. The remaining five participants were the music teacher, the counselor, and the writing, reading and technology specialists. Together they represented the instructional team or represented special education areas. The findings indicated that the reform effort had an effect on the structure and the operation of the school. The changes included reorganization of the physical set up, changes in curriculum and instruction, changes in the means of communication among the staff, and the addition of new staff members including an official agent of change. The reform had a greater effect on the daily lives of teachers and their morale than on their beliefs and behaviors. Teachers reported that during the effort their daily lives were stressful and their morale very low due to the enormous expectations that they had to meet. On the other hand, the reform effort had a positive effect on the daily life, morale, beliefs, and behaviors of the principal. It energized her. She spoke positively about the change. She functioned as an effective, positive, resilient transactional leader who did what was necessary in order to enable the teachers to cope with the complex situation.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Abou-Assali, Mona, "The effect of a reform on a school organizational culture after receiving a failing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test rating" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3165152.