Analysis of factors influencing West Virginia secondary biology and science teacher attrition rates

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Perry, Seth
Assessment; Biology; STEM; Secondary Education; Demography, Population, and Ecology; Education; Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Educational Sociology; Higher Education; Science and Mathematics Education; Teacher Education and Professional Development
thesis / dissertation description
The high rate of attrition for beginning teachers has been blamed on many factors. Nationally these include low pay, urban versus rural school settings, age, with younger teachers leaving sooner, and other variables making a complex problem with no clear component responsible for the loss of teachers. This study examined the self reported variables that contribute to high school teachers in West Virginia leaving their profession. An electronic survey instrument was distributed to current secondary teachers across the state. Teachers were asked to respond to questions related to professional satisfaction, perceived value from students and parents, administrative support, content versus education degree, demographics, teacher background, and intention to stay or leave position. The data was gathered anonymously and statistically analyzed. Retention factors identified by this survey are an increased satisfaction with the profession if teaching within the content area of their undergraduate degree. Majoring in the subject being taught increases satisfaction with the teaching profession as a whole, and within those respondents teaching in STEM disciplines, having a content degree in the Biological Sciences, and teaching Biology, gave a lower number planning to leave within five years.