Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2017

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

McGatha, Maggie

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Adelson, Jill

Committee Member

Shuck, Michael (Brad)

Committee Member

Bay-Williams, Jennifer M.

Committee Member

Peters, Susan A.

Author's Keywords

teacher support; instructional autonomy; teacher job resources; factor analysis; hierarchical linear modeling

Abstract

Research shows that teachers who are supported with job resources are more engaged regardless of the level of demands (Klusmann et al., 2008). Additionally, teachers who are engaged with their work are less likely to report their intention to leave the teaching profession (Klassen et al., 2012), which is particularly important for mathematics teachers who are in high demand (Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, & Carver-Thomas, 2016). Supporting employees with job resources is a commonly accepted practice in many professional fields (e.g., Christian, Garza, & Slaughter, 2011), yet is not a common practice in education (e.g., Bidwell, 2013; Gewertz, 2014; Layton, 2015; Rentner & Kober, 2014a). Current research on teacher work engagement and job resources has focused on big ideas like access to information and supervisory support (e.g., Hakanen, Bakker, & Schaufeli, 2006). However, a more specific set of instructional job resources that support educators’ engagement on a day-to-day basis needs to be examined, as well as their relationship to student achievement. This quantitative study examined indicators of instructional teacher job resources (ITJR) and the relationship between those resources and student mathematics achievement in grades 4-9. Data from The Gates Foundation’s MET Project were used to conduct Exploratory Factor Analysis, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, and Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses. With the survey questions that were available in the dataset, the factors for mathematics ITJR that were identified were curriculum, professional development, instructional autonomy, and time to collaborate with colleagues. The relationship between teacher instructional autonomy and student achievement in mathematics for grades 4-8 was statistically significant, but not for grade 9. Relationship between student achievement and the other ITJR for all grades were not statistically significant. This study provides validity evidence for a 4-factor model of ITJR, which may provide administrators an operationalized understanding of how to support teachers. Specifically, administrators should look for ways to offer, communicate, and encourage instructional autonomy for their teachers given its relationship with achievement. Finally, if a model for teacher merit pay is being considered, teacher job resources such as ITJR, or at least instructional autonomy, need to be considered. Suggestions for future studies are included.