The effects of working conditions on teacher retention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Teacher attrition is one of the driving contributors to the shortage of effective teachers internationally and in the United States. The common factors that spur teachers worldwide to leave the profession include low salaries, quality of teacher preparation programs, overwhelming workload, and poor working conditions. In this study, we analyzed three years of Arizona public schools’ teacher retention data and quantitative and qualitative working conditions survey data to understand the relationship between attrition patterns, perceived working conditions at their schools, and the characteristics of the schools where they were employed. We compared attrition rates in schools with different student demographic compositions and related these differences to working conditions as perceived by teachers in these schools. We found that schools where teachers rated their working conditions as more satisfactory had lower attrition rates and also were schools with higher rates of low-income and/or minority students. This findings support the hypothesis of working conditions being a mediating factor in the interplay between school demographics and teacher attrition. We document patterns of teacher retention rates across schools with different student demographics and discuss implications for policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-625
Number of pages22
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2018


  • Mixed methods
  • teacher attrition
  • teacher retention
  • working conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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