Candidate: Amy L. Kavanaugh
Doctor of Philosophy
James Sanders , Chair
Three questions were examined in this study: (1) What is the trend of new teachers' perceptions of discipline-related school problems? (2) Do new teachers' perceptions of school problems vary by teacher gender, school level, size, location, and percentage of minority students?, and (3) Are new teachers' perception of school problems related to their professional satisfaction?
National data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics through the Schools and Staffing Survey were extracted for this study. A total of 16,351 teachers in the first three years of teaching were surveyed in 1987-88, 1990-91 and 1993-94 using the Public School Teacher Questionnaire of the Schools and Staffing Survey and were utilized in this study. New teachers' perceptions of the following discipline-related school problems were investigated in this study: (a) tardiness, (b) absenteeism, (c) cutting class, (d) physical conflicts, (e) verbal abuse, (f) disrespect, (g) misbehavior that interferes with teaching, (h) physical attacks of teachers, and (i) threats against teachers.
One-way analysis of a variance was used to determine the trend from 1987-88 to 1993-94 of new teachers' perceptions of discipline-related school problems, whether new teachers' perceptions vary by teacher gender, school level, size, location, and percentage of minority students, and the relationship between school problems and professional satisfaction. Chi-square tests were used to examine new teachers' perceptions of physical attacks and threats against teachers by students. Effect sizes were also used to examine new teachers' perceptions of physical attacks and threats against teachers by students. Effect sizes were also used to determine the practical significance of the findings.
A description of the trend of new teacher perceptions, various school factors that affect new teacher perceptions, and the relationship between teacher perceptions and satisfaction is provided through this study. Statistically significant differences were found, but because of small effect sizes and actual differences between means and percentages in this study, no strong conclusions can be made regarding new teachers' perceptions of discipline-related school problems. The large sample size accounts for the statistical significance that was found.
This study did not reveal large differences between survey years, school factors, or teacher satisfaction items. Some of the items included in this study from the Schools and Staffing Survey may have created ambiguity. Several survey items seemed to overlap in meaning and may have created confusion in teacher perceptions. It is recommended that future studies using more recent Schools and Staffing Surveys also include the effect sizes as well as means and percentages to determine the practical significance of statistical results. This is important because using large national surveys can result in statistically significant findings due to large sample size. In addition to using more recent surveys, future studies could be improved through triangulation of data collection.
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