Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
On average, teachers in the United States are absent for 9.6 days of student instruction per school year, while in this study's rural Northeast Ohio school district, teachers averaged 16.2 absences in the 2015-16 school year. Teacher absence is a concern because the classroom teacher is often considered the most crucial school-related influence on student achievement. Guided by Bowlby's attachment theory, the purpose of this study was to examine the possible predictive relationships between teacher absences for sick/personal and professional leave as well as other teacher-related variables, including teaching experience, teacher education level, and teacher evaluation results, with the outcome variables of student achievement in 4th through 8th grade English language arts and math. In this quantitative correlational study, data from 36 4th through 8th grade English language arts and math teachers were examined using simple and multiple linear regression models. Results indicated that none of the 5 teacher-related variables were significantly predictive of student achievement. Despite these non-significant results, the district's Board of Education expressed concerns about the public's perception of the district's teacher attendance rate. To address the Board's concern, a 3-day professional development program was created for the Board, administrators, and teachers to collaborate and recommend strategies to increase teacher attendance. The knowledge gained from implementing this project will promote positive social change by offering this and other school districts a variety of options to support the consistent attendance of teachers, which may, in turn, enhance student-teacher relationships, student-teacher engagement, and potentially student achievement over time.