Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 2

Dr. Douglas Masterson

Committee Member 2 Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Member 3

Dr. Christopher Sirola

Committee Member 3 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 4

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 5

Dr. Carlos Alvarez

Abstract

This dissertation is an exploratory quantitative analysis of various independent variables to determine their effect on the professional longevity (years of service) of high school science teachers in the state of Florida for the academic years 2011–2012 to 2013–2014. Data are collected from the Florida Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress databases. The following research hypotheses are examined: H1 – There are statistically significant differences in Level 1 (teacher variables) that influence the professional longevity of a high school science teacher in Florida. H2 – There are statistically significant differences in Level 2 (school variables) that influence the professional longevity of a high school science teacher in Florida. H3 – There are statistically significant differences in Level 3 (district variables) that influence the professional longevity of a high school science teacher in Florida. H4 – When tested in a hierarchical multiple regression, there are statistically significant differences in Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 that influence the professional longevity of a high school science teacher in Florida.

The professional longevity of a Floridian high school science teacher is the dependent variable. The independent variables are: (Level 1) a teacher’s sex, age, ethnicity, earned degree, salary, number of schools taught in, migration count, and various years of service in different areas of education; (Level 2) a school’s geographic location, residential population density, average class size, charter status, and SES; and (Level 3) a school district’s average SES and average spending per pupil. Statistical analyses of exploratory MLRs and a HMR are used to support the research hypotheses.

The final results of the HMR analysis show a teacher’s age, salary, earned degree (unknown, associate, and doctorate), and ethnicity (Hispanic and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander); a school’s charter status; and a school district’s average SES are all significant predictors of a Florida high school science teacher’s professional longevity. Although statistically significant in the initial exploratory MLR analyses, a teacher’s ethnicity (Asian and Black), a school’s geographic location (city and rural), and a school’s SES are not statistically significant in the final HMR model.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0002-8650-3121

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