The Relationship of Personality Factors to Teacher Longevity of Mathematics and Science Teachers in Nevada
AuthorTun, Ruby Jee
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The problem of teacher shortage in the United States has been studied extensively. Struggling schools and school districts have resorted to filling positions with unqualified teachers, substitutes, and recruiting teachers from foreign nations. Despite recommendations made by the research, each year schools confront the same problem of teachers leaving the classroom. The need to hire and retain good mathematics and science teachers in our nation's secondary schools is high. It is posited that if the personality factors of mathematics and science teachers in Nevada could be determined in teachers who remain in education, then recommendations could be made in conjunction with the existing data for how to better retain those teachers longer.The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any correlations between personality factors, as measured by the Cattell 16PF, with longevity of stay in mathematics and science teachers in Nevada. Seventy-nine subjects took part in the study. They came from six school districts in Nevada: four rural and two urban. Subjects volunteered based upon proctor requests from each participating school district. The Cattell 16PF Questionnaire and demographic form were administered to each participant along with an incentive for completing the forms. Data were collected between October, 2007 - October, 2008. T-tests were used to compare rural and urban school district teachers, a one-way ANOVA was used to compare rural, urban, and nationally normed teacher means, and a Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient (<italic>r</italic>) was used to determine if significant correlations existed between each personality factor and longevity of stay. Results of the study showed Nevada mathematics and science teachers had low mean scores for personality factor A (Warmth) and personality factor I (Sensitivity). They had means near the middle for all other personality factors. The study also found two personality factors that correlated significantly with longevity of stay: low with personality factor A (Warmth) (<italic>r</italic> = -.223, <italic>p</italic> < .05) and high for personality factor Q4 (Tension) (<italic>r</italic> = .291, <italic>p</italic> < .01). Based on the results of the study, it is recommended that mathematics and science teachers receive training to become more aware of struggling students so that they can be more sensitive to their learning needs.