Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Social Work

Major Professor

Alison Salloum, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Robin Ersing, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robin Ersing, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sondra Fogel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mario Hernandez, Ph.D.


EBP, intervention, leadership, RtI, school climate


School social workers are currently in a unique position to support and lead schools through the change process initiated by districts' adoption of a Response to Intervention model. This dissertation describes an exploratory study to develop and pilot-test a self-administered survey for use by school social workers for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of school social work practice. The survey was developed using DeVellis' 8-step process for survey design. The survey consisted of four subscales theorized to measure school social worker effectiveness as determined by a review of current literature in the field: Response to Intervention, Evidence-Based Practice, School Climate, and Roles and Leadership. The survey was pilot tested with 105 school social workers in Hillsborough County, Florida. Reliability and validity of the instrument was assessed through SPSS using Cronbach's alpha and exploratory factor analysis. Once adjusted for negatively-worded items and dropping items that failed to load, four factors emerged explaining almost 44% of total variance. Cronbach's alpha analysis of the final scale length of 27 items resulted in values of .815 for the Evidence-Based Practice subscale, .792 for the Response to Intervention subscale, .676 for the School Climate subscale, and .726 for the Roles and Leadership subscale. These values indicate that the final instrument has good internal consistency reliability. An additional item was rewritten for clarity and included in the 28-item version of the survey suggested for use in future research.

Analysis of the collected data indicated that the survey demonstrates both validity and reliability, making it a useful tool for school-based social workers; suggestions for further development of the survey and future directions for research are discussed. The Professional School Social Work Survey can serve as a means of both self-assessment and planning for professional development.