Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Winter 5-31-2018

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Alberto Rodriguez

Committee Member

Jorge Blanco


stress, burnout, teachers, turnover, attrition, elementary schools



The Impact of Stress on the Turnover Rates for Teachers in Low-Performing Public Elementary Schools. Stacie-Jo Howard, 2018: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler College of Education. Keywords: stress, burnout, turnover, attrition, teachers, elementary schools, low-performing, impact, urban, administrators, public schools, education

Teachers work with students on a daily basis and are expected to conceal their emotions while at work which may eventually become stressful. According to Wong, Ruble, Yu, and McGrew (2017), teachers had an average stress level of about 6.2% out of a 10-point scale falling slightly below that of a firefighter. Subsequently, the turnover rates have increased over the years, and research shows that a total of 531, 300 teachers who either transferred or left the profession contributed to an overall turnover rate of 16%. Therefore, to protect the integrity of the education system, administrators especially those who work in low-performing schools and have even more difficulty replacing teachers, need to expand their understanding of the causes of teacher stress or burnout and implement appropriate strategies to eliminate or reduce the stress that is experienced in the classroom.

This study focused on the causes of turnover related to teacher stress in two inner-city elementary schools in the southeastern area of the United States. The research questions explored (a) the factors that contribute to teacher stress; (b) the correlation between levels of teacher stress and their intention to quit employment in low-performing elementary schools; (c) the impact the individual factors have on the desire to leave employment from low-performing schools; (d) the strategies that can be used to eliminate or reduce work-related stress in low-performing schools and; (e) how the stress levels differ in a low-performing and higher-performing schools. As an evaluative study, the project utilized a mixed-method approach to determine the impact of turnover related to stress on elementary teachers in the classroom. Data was collected through the use of surveys, interviews, and district or school documents and reports.

This study contributes new knowledge to the field of public education by providing insight into factors that cause work-related teacher stress and strategies that administrators, district leaders, and teachers can use to reduce or eliminate stress, ultimately leading to the reduction of turnover rates in low-performing schools.

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