School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Kimberly Lester


Perception of Working Conditions, School Climate, TELL Survey, North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions




Prior research on school climate has focused on relationships between teachers and students, peer relationships, order and discipline, student engagement, and academic support to create an environment where students can be academically successful. No universally accepted standard definition encompasses all facets of the school climate construct. Although teacher working conditions have a direct impact on the future of students, few studies exist on teacher and principal perceptions of this construct. This comparative analysis study used archival data from the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey (NCTWCS) to determine if differences existed between teacher and principal perceptions of the working environment. A dataset containing 101,846 responses was used to analyze one research question. After data cleaning, a random selection of 100 teachers and 100 principals was taken from 33,379 clean cases. A multivariate analysis of variance was used to compare eight NCTWCS scale scores of the teachers and principals. Significant differences were found between teachers and principals on all eight scales. Principals and teachers are the driving forces behind school culture and a positive school climate. Understanding these differences can help to design policies that can create positive school climates and increase school improvement efforts. Implications are numerous because researchers can now state definitively that there are differences in teacher and principal perceptions of the working environment. Researchers can begin to ask why these differences exist and propose a way to lessen the gap. Principals and teachers may never completely agree on their perceptions of working conditions but they can work together to create an environment that inspires teacher retention and increased student achievement.

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