Teachers' Perceptions of Their Working Conditions: How Predictive of Policy-Relevant Outcomes?

Brief

Teachers' Perceptions of Their Working Conditions: How Predictive of Policy-Relevant Outcomes?

August 9, 2010

Abstract

This study uses data from North Carolina to examine the extent to which survey based perceptions of working conditions are predictive of policy-relevant outcomes, independent of other school characteristics such as the demographic mix of the school's students. Working conditions emerge as highly predictive of teachers' stated intentions to remain in or leave their schools, with leadership emerging as the most salient dimension. Teachers' perceptions of their working conditions are also predictive of one-year actual departure rates and student achievement, but the predictive power is far lower. These weaker findings for actual outcome measures help to highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of using teacher survey data for understanding outcomes of policy interest.

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