Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

William L. Curlette, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gwen Benson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Winifred C. Nweke, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Bridget V. Dever, Ph.D.

Abstract

As teacher turnover and the demands for accountability and student achievement persist, the need to hire and retain quality teachers becomes increasingly vital. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between participation in Cross Career Learning Communities (CCLC), a type of Professional Learning Community (PLC), and teacher retention in participating Network for Enhancing Teacher-Quality (NET-Q) schools in a southeastern state. One-to-one exact matching was used to match 251 teachers in CCLC groups to 251 control teachers on eight variables including both system and individual level variables. Results showed a ten percent significant difference between the retention percentages within the state public school systems favoring CCLC teachers, χ2(1) = 21.17, N = 502, p < .05, with a medium effect size of h = .4. For teachers participating in CCLCs, a secondary research question asked if there were any differences in teacher retention in schools that had mandatory participation versus those that had voluntary participation. No significant difference was found between participation types and teacher retention. Furthermore, no significant difference was found in the attrition rates between the novice and the veteran teachers participating in the CCLCs. Based on a question from the NET-Q survey, the percentage of teachers indicating that their participation in CCLCs positively influenced their decision to continue in teaching, estimated at 31%, was statistically significant. This study extends the research on one particular type of PLC to teacher retention. The findings of this study may aid school leaders in better understanding how they can address and impact teacher retention in teaching and in their school buildings. Suggestions for future research and implications for policies addressing teacher support and retention are discussed.

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