Date of Award

Fall 9-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Shelly Fransen

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Danny Humble

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to contribute to the understanding of teacher retention by researching factors that influence veteran teachers to remain in Missouri’s K-8 school districts. School districts all across the nation face the daunting task of improving student achievement in the face of teacher shortages, especially in rural areas and in hard-to-staff content fields such as math and science (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2017; Harrington, 2017). Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, the researcher sought to articulate the core perceptions of superintendents and veteran teachers that lead to longevity and retention in the K-8 school environment and to identify the factors that influence retention of teachers in Missouri K-8 districts. Research participants included Missouri K-8 superintendents and veteran teachers. Through interviews and surveys, perceptions regarding factors that influence teacher retention in K-8 districts were identified and analyzed for statistical differences. Interviews were conducted, responses summarized and categorized using open and axial coding, and similarities and commonalities identified. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics to provide summaries to test the null hypothesis and report comparative data. The survey data analysis included use of the Mann-Whitney U test to determine whether two uncorrelated groups differed significantly. Survey data findings indicated no significant differences between K-8 superintendent and veteran teacher perceptions regarding retention factors. Interview and survey data conclusions revealed common retention factors such as culture/climate; administrative and community support and recognition; salary; working conditions (small class sizes/autonomy); and making a difference, or the work itself.

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