A study of the perceived needs of elementary teachers in relation to grade level, educational experience, and teaching experience
The purposes of this study were to examine and analyze the data obtained on the perceived needs of public school teachers in grades preschool through sixth grade in three subcategories: preschool through kindergarten, grades 1-3, and grades 4-6. Data obtained relating to these three categories were also cross analyzed by educational level and years of experience.
One instrument was utilized in gathering the data. This instrument was the Staff Development Needs Assessment developed by Dr. Joan Shirley under the auspices of the Region IX Education Service Center in Wichita Falls, Texas. The questionnaires were distributed through the Region IX van delivery system to each building principal. Because surveys were distributed by and returned to the building principal, the return rate was extremely high. Of the 298 questionnaires distributed to the specified population, 293 were returned, providing a return rate of 98.32%. Of the 293 participating teachers, 26 were assigned to the preschool through kindergarten level, 151 were assigned to grades 1-3, and 116 were assigned to grades 4-6. The questionnaire included 51 items in six general categories of curriculum, classroom management, curriculum delivery methods, human skills, evaluation techniques and staff organization.
Ten items were identified as the overall concerns of the participants without regard for specific educational, assignment, or experience factors. These items represented general concerns for the nurturing/humanistic needs, for development of appropriate instructional programs and utilization of materials, and for discipline techniques. After all intergroup analyses were completed, six items were identified as the ultimate perceived needs of all teachers in all groups educationally, by experience, and by assignment. These generally related to the improvement of instruction through student involvement, discipline, and selection of appropriate materials. The study concluded that specific training needs can be documented, and that these perceived needs are affected by years of experience, and educational and assignment levels.