Organizational Health Inventory for Secondary Schools (OHI-S)

A healthy school is one in which the institutional, administrative, and teacher levels are in harmony; and the school meets functional needs as it successfully copes with disruptive external forces and directs its energies toward its mission.

Dimensions (Subtests of the OHI-S)

Institutional Integrity describes a school that has integrity in its educational program. The school is not vulnerable to narrow, vested interests of community groups; indeed, teachers are protected from unreasonable community and parental demands. The school is able to cope successfully with destructive outside forces.

Initiating Structure is task- and achievement-oriented behavior. The principal makes his or her attitudes and expectations clear to the faculty and maintains definite standards of performance.

Consideration is principal behavior that is friendly, supportive, and collegial. The principal looks out for the welfare of faculty members and is open to their suggestions.

Principal Influence is the principal's ability to affect the actions of superiors. The influential principal is persuasive, works effectively with the superintendent, simultaneously demonstrates independence in thought and action.

Resource Support refers to a school where adequate classroom supplies and instructional materials are available and extra materials are easily obtained.

Morale is the sense of trust, confidence, enthusiasm, and friendliness among teachers. Teachers feel good about each other and, at the same time, feel a sense of accomplishment from their jobs.

Academic Emphasis refers to the schools press for achievement. High but achievable goals are set for students; the learning environment is orderly and serious; teachers believe students can achieve; and students work hard and respect those who do well academically.


Each of these dimensions was measured by a subtest of the OHI-S. The reliability scores for the scales were relatively high: Institutional Integrity (.91), Initiating Structure (.89), Consideration (.90), Principal Influence (.87), Resource Support (.95), Morale (.92), and Academic Emphais (.93).

Construct Validity

A factor analysis of several samples of the instrument supports the construct validity of the concept of organizational health (Hoy, Tarter, & Kottkamp, 1991; Hoy & Tarter, 1997). In addition, the predictive validity has been supported in other studies. See Hoy, Tarter, and Kottkamp (1991) for a review of that literature.

Administering the Instrument

The OHI-S is best administered as part of a faculty meeting. It is important to guarantee the anonymity of the teacher respondent; teachers are not asked to sign the questionnaire and no identifying code is placed on the form. Most teachers do not object to responding to the instrument, which takes less than ten minutes to complete. We recommend that someone other than an administrator collect the data. It is important is to create a non-threatening atmosphere where teachers give candid responses. All of the health instruments follow the same pattern of administration.


The responses vary along a four-point scale defined by the categories "rarely occurs," "sometimes occurs," "often occurs," and "very frequently occurs." (1 through 4, respectively). When an item is reversed scored, "rarely occurs" receives a 4, "sometimes occurs" a 3, and so on. Each item is scored for each respondent, and then an average school score for each item is computed by averaging the item responses across the school because the school is the unit of analysis.

Step 1: Score each item for each respondent with the appropriate number (1, 2, 3, or 4). Be sure to reverse score items 8, 15, 20, 22, 29, 30, 34, 36, 39.

Step 2: Calculate an average school score for each item. In the example above, one would add all 60 scores on each item and then divide the sum by 60. Round the scores to the nearest hundredth. This score represents the average school item score. You should have 44 school item scores before proceeding.

Step 3: Sum the average school item scores as follows:

Institutional Integrity (II)=1+8+15+22+29+36+39
Initiating Structure (IS)=4+11+18+25+32
Consideration (C)=3+10+17+24+31
Principal Influence (PI)=2+9+16+23+30
Resource Support (RS)=5+12+19+26+33
Morale (M)=6+13+20+27+34+37+40+42+44
Academic Emphasis (AE)=7+14+21+28+35+38+41+43

These seven scores represent the health profile of the school. You may wish to compare your school profile with other schools. To do this you will need to standardize each school score. The current data base on elementary schools is drawn from a large, diverse sample of schools in New Jersey. The average scores and standard deviations for each health dimension are summarized below:

  Mean (M) Std. Deviation (SD)
Institutional Integrity (II) 18.61 2.66
Initiating Structure (IS) 14.36 1.83
Consideration (C) 12.83 2.03
Principal Influence (PI) 12.93 1.79
Resource Support (RS) 13.52 1.89
Morale (M) 25.05 2.64
Academic Emphasis (AE) 21.33 2.76


Computing Standardized Scores of the OHI-S

Convert the school subtest scores to standardized scores with a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 100, which we call SdS score.

First: Use the following formula:

SdS for II=100(II-18.61)/2.66+500

Compute the difference between your school score on II and the mean for the normative sample (II-18.61). Then multiply the difference by one hundred[100(II-18.61)]. Next divide the product by the standard deviation of the normative sample (2.66). Then add 500 to the result. You have computed a standardized score (SdS) for the institutional integrity subscale.

Next: Repeat the process for each dimension as follows:

SdS for IS=100(IS-14.36)/1.83+500
SdS for C=100(C-12.83)/2.03+500
SdS for PI=100(PI-12.93)/1.79+500
SdS for RS=100(RS-13.52)/1.89+500
SdS for M=100(M-25.05)/2.64+500
SdS for AE=100(AE-21.33)/2.76+500

You have standardized your school scores against the normative data provided in the New Jersey sample. For example, if your school score is 700 on institutional integrity, it is two standard deviations above the average score on institutional integrity of all schools in the sample; that is, the school has more institutional integrity than 97% of the schools in the sample. You may recognize this system as the one used in reporting individual scores on the SAT, CEEB, and GRE. The range of these scores is presented below:

If the score is 200, it is lower than 99% of the schools.
If the score is 300, it is lower than 97% of the schools.
If the score is 400, it is lower than 84% of the schools.
If the score is 500, it is average.
If the score is 600, it is higher than 84% of the schools.
If the score is 700, it is higher than 97% of the schools.
If the score is 800, it is higher than 99% of the schools.

Health Index

An overall index of school health can be computed as follows:

HEALTH = [(SdS for II)+(Sds for IS)+(Sds for C)+(SdS for PI])+(SdS for RS)+ (SdS for M)+(SdS for AE)] divided BY 7

This health index is interpreted the same way as the subtest scores, that is, the mean of the "average" school is 500. Thus, a score of 650 on the health index represents a very healthy school, one that is one and a half standard deviations above the average school, and a score of 400 represents a very sick school climate. Most school scores, however, fall between these extremes and can only be diagnosed by carefully comparing all elements of the climate. We have changed the numbers into categories ranging from high to low by using the following conversion table:

Above 600 VERY HIGH
551-600 HIGH
490-510 AVERAGE
400-449 LOW
Below 400 VERY LOW

We recommend using all the dimensions of OHI-S to gain a finely tuned picture of school health.

For further information:

Hoy, W. K., Tarter, C. J., & Kottkamp, R. B. (1991). Open schools/healthy schools: Measuring organizational climate. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Hoy, W. K., & Tarter, C. J. (1997). The road to open and healthy schools: A handbook for change, Secondary Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Ohio State School of Education
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