This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Relationship between School Characteristics and Teachers' Intentions to Continue Teaching in High-Needs Schools




Robinson, Charlesetta

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


With the ever changing and global economy, the demand for effective teachers is steadily increasing. Regrettably, the problem of attracting and retaining those effective teachers presents a formidable challenge, especially for those districts that serve students of color, high-needs and from poverty. Quality teachers are essential for the successful education of our nation’s children; unfortunately, recruiting and retaining quality teachers in our high- needs schools has become extremely difficult. Teacher preparation programs are graduating enough teachers to meet the demand; however, the rate of new teacher attrition reduces the supply of teachers to insufficient quantities (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). Quantitative methods were used to investigate the factors that influenced teachers’ decisions to continue teaching in high-needs schools. This study also used Theory of Planned Behavior to determine how attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavior controls influenced teachers’ intentions to continue teaching in high-needs schools. Additionally, this study examined whether school characteristics and school level influenced teachers’ decisions to continue teaching in high-needs schools. “Teacher Retention,” a questionnaire that was developed using the three constructs of Theory of Planned Behavior, was given to teachers from an urban Alabama school district. To answer the research questions descriptive statistics, simple and multiple regression, and a one-way ANOVA were used. The results from the study indicated that there is a strong correlation between teachers’ attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavior controls and intentions. All three constructs were considered significant. Furthermore, the multiple regression results indicated that attitudes and not subjective norms and perceived behavior controls predicted teachers’ intention to continue teaching in their current position at a statistically significant level. Additionally, magnet school teachers had better attitudes than middle and secondary high school teachers towards teaching and will more than likely continue teaching in their current position. The findings from this study can help educators better understand why teachers are leaving the profession at such an alarming rate. Although this study cannot be generalized to other school districts, it is recommended that educators use Theory of Planned Behavior as an appropriate framework to determine factors that influence teachers’ retention in high-needs schools.