Migration and attrition patterns of Texas secondary science teachers

Mount, Jennifer Daniele'
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The focus of this research is to investigate teacher turnover in the form of attrition and migration of secondary science teachers in the state of Texas. This study is to fill the gap in the research pertaining to the relationship of teacher migration and attrition to secondary science teacher qualifications and school characteristics in order to assist stakeholders in developing more effective policies and programs aimed at providing all students with a qualified science educator. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine whether Texas secondary science teachers are migrating and if so, identify schools the teachers are migrating from and to, and 2) determine characteristics of the teachers who migrate or leave teaching by discipline taught, route of certification, years of service and in-field and out-of-field status. This study utilized quantitative research methods, specifically, descriptive statistics displayed as percentages and trends indicated by a novel data representation using vectors. The data used in the study were extracted from the Public Education Information Management Systems (PEIMS) data from the Texas Education Agency and the teacher certification records from the State Board for Educator Certification from 1995 - 2008. After the quantitative results and vector plots were analyzed, the results revealed that a fifth of Texas secondary science teachers are migrating between schools each year. Texas secondary science teachers of lower socio-economical status schools migrated to higher SES schools, while teachers of the highest socio-economical status schools migrated to a lower SES school. Other findings include a high percentage of incoming Texas secondary science teachers are not certified or alternatively certified. The analysis of the Texas secondary teachers showed which teachers are leaving or migrating from certain schools. It can help districts and policy makers to have equity in schools with quality teachers. Since the study used individual teacher and school data, the results can provide valuable information to school leaders, school district leaders, and policy makers at the local and state level as decisions are made regarding the implementation of policies and administrative actions intended to increase teacher retention.