An analysis of the impact of working conditions on teacher turnover in low -performing schools in North Carolina

Renee' LaHuffman-Jackson, Fayetteville State University


The purpose of this dissertation was to determine the impact of working conditions on teacher turnover in low-performing schools in North Carolina. The participants were 1,350 teachers from 47 low-performing schools who rated their perceptions of their working conditions on the Teacher Working Conditions Survey in May 2006. The 96-item instrument categorized working conditions into use of time, facilities and resources, teacher empowerment, leadership, and professional development. A 5-point Likert scale was used to determine teacher perceptions. Variable response indicators were used in accordance with the questions asked. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the whether significant difference between the means of six categories of teacher turnover existed. The teacher turnover rate categories consisted of categories (1) <12%, (2) 13% - 23%, (3) 24% - 34%, (4) 35% - 45%, (5) 46% - 56%, and (6) >57%. The findings for this study support the idea that schools with lower teacher turnover rates were positive about their working conditions, but only to a marginal degree. Schools with high turnover rate were mostly positive about their perceptions of their working conditions as well. This study indicated that teachers agreed overwhelmingly that time provided to teachers to plan instruction was not sufficient. Teachers were motivated to be productive, creative, and satisfied when three working conditions were present: (1) Schools that have space for each teacher to work with students and colleagues; (2) Schools that are clean; and (3) Schools that are physically sound with technology that allows them to prepare students to be successful. Teachers also showed evidence that they agreed that schools with strong supportive leaders with a clear vision of the central mission of the school created a positive working condition. Teachers from all categories preferred leadership in which all stakeholders participated in the decision-making process. Leadership was perceived as one of the most significant domains to teachers at low-performing schools. Teachers agreed that when schools recognized teachers as educational experts and trusted them to make sound professional decisions, they felt empowered. Teachers desire feedback that can help them improve their teaching. Professional development was the most significant to teachers at low-performing schools in North Carolina. Finally, the results indicated that educational policy makers interested in improving teacher work conditions to increase student achievement, morale, teacher retention should routinely examine the working conditions of teachers at low-performing schools. If students are to be effectively educated so that they can perform to high standards, schools must become places where teachers and students can succeed together. There is considerable evidence that teachers are sustained and successful in their work, and more likely to remain in teaching, when their schools provide an array of supports.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

LaHuffman-Jackson, Renee', "An analysis of the impact of working conditions on teacher turnover in low -performing schools in North Carolina" (2009). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI3406566.