teacher, attrition, retention, special education, exceptional student education
Teacher attrition affects the quality of services for students in K-12 education and poses an ongoing challenge for educational leaders, especially in the area of special education. Special educators leave the profession at higher rates than general educators. As a growing state, Florida has identified special education as a critical teacher shortage area. This study evaluated the Skills, Tips, and Routines for Teacher Success (STARTS) initiative of Volusia County Schools, a large district in east central Florida. Implemented in 2001 for new ESE teachers, STARTS offered four days of training in policies and procedures, curriculum, and classroom management. Research questions addressed whether STARTS influenced retention of new ESE teachers. Because the literature cited age, ethnicity, special education program area, and grade level assignment as factors in attrition, these were assessed as well. Incorporating employment histories from school year (SY) 1998-1999 through SY 2003-2004, the study evaluated 771 new ESE teachers. Of these, 422 teachers did not participate in STARTS; 349 teachers participated in STARTS. The study reported whether they returned the following year to an ESE position, a general education position, or exited the school system. Contingency table analysis with crosstabulation was used to evaluate statistical relationships among variables. Effect size was assessed with Cramer's V and the contingency coefficient. All analyses were conducted with an alpha of .05. A significant difference existed between the retention rates of new ESE teachers hired before STARTS and during STARTS. In 2000-2001, the school year preceding STARTS, 54.3% of new ESE teachers returned to an ESE position whereas in the first year of STARTS, 71.1% of new ESE teachers returned to an ESE position, an increase of 51%. By SY 2003-2004, 89.7% of new ESE teachers returned to an ESE position, an increase of 65% from the SY 2000-2001 baseline.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Educational Research, Technology and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Speidel, Mary, "Teacher Attrition And Retention In Exceptional Student Education: An Evaluation Of The Skills, Tips, And Routines For Teacher Success (STARTS) Initiative of Volusia County, Florida Schools" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 396.