This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring School Specific Context and Bullying Data: Informing Practice with Evidence




Pignato, Shannon

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study was to determine if professional development using school contextual data would provide deeper understanding and attention to the important issue of student bullying. This was primarily a quantitative study. Phase 1 involved using data from the pre-existing student and teacher needs assessments to create the school specific professional development. The researcher examined the use of school specific needs assessment data to inform the staff on bullying knowledge and beliefs about bullying. The needs assessment domains analyzed were perception, prevalence, beliefs, and prevention. The study was conducted using a comparison treatment group design. Phase 2 involved administering the Bullying Summary Evaluation Instrument (BSEI) to the comparison group prior to the intervention and to the treatment group after the school specific intervention. Phase 3 involved providing a follow-up session to each participating school and administering the Indicators of Professional Learning Communities Instrument (IPLCI). Research questions were addressed through three instruments created by the researcher. The instruments were tested for validity and reliability and were found to be both. A paper pencil design was utilized for all instruments. The researcher designed the treatment for each participating school then administered the Bullying Summary Evaluation Instrument (BSEI) to the comparison and treatment groups at specified times. The domains analyzed in the BSEI were bullying knowledge and bullying beliefs. As a follow-up to the treatment session, the researcher provided an additional session to each school participating to discuss the value of professional learning communities in solving school related problems such as bullying. Additional data was collected using the third instrument, Indicators of Professional Learning Communities Instrument (IPLCI), to measure the participant’s perception of their school as a PLC. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance were the primary methods used to analyze the data collected. The independent variable was the data informed professional development. The dependent variable was the knowledge gained or positive relationship the data informed professional development had on the intervention group’s knowledge and beliefs, operationalized by the BSEI. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if there was a difference between the bullying knowledge and bullying beliefs between the two school groups. The findings revealed that there was a statistically significant difference (p < .01) in bullying knowledge and bullying beliefs between the treatment and comparison groups within each school. The results provided evidence of a statistically significant improvement in teacher bullying knowledge and bullying beliefs after participating in the school specific professional development session. In the follow-up investigation the researcher found that faculty perceptions of the school as a professional learning community were parallel to their perceptions of bullying knowledge and beliefs. The more positive the respondents were about bullying knowledge and beliefs, the more positive they were about the schools as a learning community. Implications for school administrators and recommendations for future studies were addressed in chapter five.