Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Novice Teacher, Attrition, Minnesota, Rural
The nationwide trend of novice teachers leaving schools at a disproportionately high rate comes at a time when schools strive to develop a staff of experienced, effective educators to increase student achievement. The price of novice teacher attrition includes financial costs like recruitment and hiring as well as lost professional development young teachers take with them when they leave. Intangible costs include the negative impact on schools as organizations resulting from high turnover as well as inconsistent instruction from an ever-changing teaching staff. Ultimately, student achievement pays the price of high rates of novice teacher attrition. McCann, Johannessen, and Ricca (2005) described the concern regarding teacher attrition, “We find the attrition of great numbers of talented teachers distressful, especially because of the devastating loss to the profession of the potential of these teachers and to the students whose lives they would affect” (p. 64).
The purpose of the study was to ascertain the causal factors, other than performance, of novice teachers’ attrition as perceived by responding school administrators and examine the impact of grit and resiliency on those novice teachers who resigned from their positions within the first years of teaching as perceived by the responding school administrators. A review of the literature found several factors that contributed to young teachers leaving their positions. Those factors included salary, student discipline concerns, lack of collegial support, lack of parental support, the decrease of professional prestige, lack of readiness to teach, and working conditions. A review of the literature also found that grit and resiliency can be mitigating, internal factors for novice teachers who are considering leaving their positions. In 2013, Angela Duckworth won the MacArthur Grant for her work with “Grit.” Grit builds on resiliency and is defined as the perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals.
Results of the study indicated that some of the findings were consistent with the literature in that they had a significant impact on novice teachers’ decisions to leave their positions while other findings were found to be less influential than the literature suggested. Salary, student discipline concerns, lack of parental support, lack of readiness to teach, and a lack of respect for the field of education were found to be consistent with the literature as significant factors that impact novice teachers’ decisions to leave their teaching positions. The factors of working conditions, lack of collegial support, and a mentorship program were not found to be as compelling as the literature suggested. The impact of the internal factor of grit was inconclusive according to the findings from the study.
The loss of a single novice teacher is costly for schools and students. If any of the factors that contribute to teachers leaving their positions within the first five years can be reduced or eliminated, schools and students will benefit.
Sutlief, Patrick, "A Quantitative Study of Factors Contributing to Early Career Teachers Leaving Their Positions in Rural, Central Minnesota" (2019). Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 67.