Date of Award

11-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jason Berman

Second Supervisor

Russell Coward

Abstract

The topic for the study is teacher absenteeism. The literature review included a discussion of the importance of the study, the research base on teacher attendance and student performance, patterns and trends in teacher absenteeism, cost implications for teacher absenteeism, impact of teachers' absenteeism on student performance and school operations, impact on urban schools, and intervention strategies to reduce absenteeism or mitigate the negative impact when teacher absences do occur. The hypothesis of the study is that there is a significant negative relationship between the extent, the reason for, or the pattern of teachers being absent from the classroom and the performance of the students they teach on state assessments in English/language arts. The study was conducted in a medium-size urban school district in upstate New York. The performance of 7030 students on the English/language arts State assessment was correlated to the absences of 672 teachers assigned to teach English/language arts to those students. All student performance data and teacher absence data was for the 2006-2007 school year. Pearson correlations were used and significance was determined at the p=0.05 level. The results of the study quite unequivocally show that teacher absences are unrelated to student performance on the State English/language arts tests and certainly are not a negative relationship. That is, students do not perform lower when teacher absenteeism is higher. There are some weak relationships at grades five and seven that are significant, but these relationships show a positive relationship between teacher absenteeism and student performance. That is, the scores are higher when teachers are absent more. These results are counterintuitive and generate a number of questions. There is a critical and dramatic overriding question that is generated by the results of this study. To what extent is the presence of the teacher responsible for student performance? Recommendations for future research or actions based on the results are discussed. Recommendations for changes in organizational procedures or practices, professional practice, and approaches for program improvement are explored.

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