Factors that influence the retention of secondary urban science teachers
Holt, Kiyra Breana
MetadataShow full item record
Research suggests that school districts in the United States report that there is a teacher shortage, but the literature indicates that the problem is not a deficit of teachers in general, but a scarcity of teachers in specific areas such as special education, mathematics and science. Recruitment is the method by which these positions are filled, but recruiting teachers solves only half the shortage problem. Retaining current teachers is the other half of the problem, and teacher retention is a problem across the nation. Research indicates that teachers are leaving the profession within three to five years after entrance. Research also indicates that not nearly enough science teachers are being produced from schools of education. Urban schools report low retention rates in all disciplines, and science positions in particular are hard to staff. The literature indicates that school climate, science teacher efficacy and professional development are very influential in the retention of teachers. This investigation was undertaken to see if there is a statistical relationship between these factors and the retention of science teachers in urban schools. A web-based survey called the Science Teacher Retention Factors Instrument (STRFI) was used to collect data from 103 science teachers from four urban districts in the southeastern United States. The STRFI had three main components: the Organizational Health Survey for Secondary Schools (OHI-S), the Science Teacher Efficacy Beliefs Statement (STEBI), and the Teacher Activity Survey (TAS). The OHI-S was used to measure school climate, the STEBI was used to measure science teacher efficacy, and the TAS was used to measure professional development, and correlational statistics were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that school climate and science teacher efficacy are the most influential factors on science teacher retention in urban schools. Future research should continue in this vein with science teacher retention in rural schools and suburban schools for comparative purposes. Principals should maintain a positive school climate by including teachers in the decision-making process and providing adequate support. Schools and school systems should focus on creating and implementing policy to sustain retention efforts.