NC teacher survey: Principals are key to job satisfaction

Posted June 1, 2016 4:33 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2016 6:42 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina public schools released the results of its latest Teacher Working Conditions Survey on Wednesday.

The survey is given every two years and asks teachers, principals and other school staff to share their thoughts on various topics, including school leadership, student conduct and facilities and resources.

Nearly 102,000 North Carolina educators, or about 86 percent, responded to the voluntary online survey, which is anonymous. About 89 percent of educators responded to the last survey in 2014.

Among this year's findings:

  • Teachers have declining confidence in how accurately state tests are gauging students' understanding of the material. This year, 43 percent of teachers surveyed said they agree or strongly agree that state tests accurately assess students' understanding. That's down from 44.5 percent in 2014.
  • Teachers cited principals and other leaders at their school as the most important factor when deciding whether they want to keep teaching at their current school.
  • Teachers cited use of time and instructional practices and support as the second most important factors in whether they stay at their school.
  • About 65 percent of teachers say an effort has been made to minimize the amount of routine paperwork they have to do, compared with 57 percent in 2014.
  • A greater proportion of educators agree that state assessment data are available in time to impact instruction as compared to 2014.

State school board member Gregory Alcorn questioned why the survey only has multiple choice answers and does not include open-ended questions for educators to share more of their experiences.

Dawn Shepard, director of the New Teacher Center, who presented the survey results, said open-ended questions "don't serve us well." Other states that have tried that found that teachers expected responses or actions to happen as a result of their feedback, she said.