Data Analysis

Overview of Contents

What makes teacher working conditions Initiatives so important is that local communities can learn about working conditions directly from those who are most affected by them – classroom teachers.  By surveying every teacher in a state, enough data can be gathered to provide customized information and reports for individual schools and districts.  Gathering school level data allows school and community leaders to understand what educators think about working conditions.  The data will also help schools consider programs and policies that address the specific concerns of their unique teaching corps.

The data analysis section of the toolkit is intended to help community members—both educators and the community at large—better understand the results of their school and district working conditions surveys. Statewide teacher working conditions surveys have been conducted in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kansas, while pilot surveys have been conducted in select districts in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Data is currently available online for North Carolina, Kansas, and Arizona. Click here to access data from your state, district or school.

What follows are key questions to guide an analysis and discussion of survey results.  This process can help identify the working condition areas of greatest need and focus.  After considering these questions, please use the data recommendations matrix  to determine which toolkit recommendations could help address concerns related to specific questions and areas of the working conditions survey.

About the Survey

The development of the survey began in 2001 as a part of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley’s Teacher Working Conditions Initiative. The North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards Commission, with the support of the State Board of Education, conducted research and focus groups to develop 30 working conditions standards for schools in five broad categories — time, empowerment, professional development, leadership, and facilities and resources.  Focus groups with more than 500 teachers validated the categories or "domains."  The original survey, was administered to every licensed public school educator in North Carolina in 2002 and solicited teacher response on 39 statements regarding working conditions in these five categories.

Led by Governor Easley’s office, the survey was administered for a second time in April-May 2004 with some important changes. The survey went online, allowing teachers more time and privacy to complete the survey.  The online format allowed the survey to be expanded from 39 to 72 questions on working conditions and eight demographic questions. The survey also added a series of questions that gathered information on actual conditions as well as many based on teachers' perception of their school. Upon receiving the survey results, a statistical factor analysis was conducted not only to ensure that the survey was well constructed, but also to create domain averages that included only questions that truly explained the working conditions area described.

As subsequent states developed Teacher Working Conditions initiatives on the basis of this survey, some added a section on mentoring and induction to the five core domains. To date, state-wide teacher working conditions surveys have been administered in North Carolina (most recently in 2006), South Carolina, and Kansas, as well as in individual districts in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.  Although questions differ to a small degree on each state's survey, a series of core questions allows all states and districts to begin analyzying their data with the aid of the toolkit.

Getting Started: To begin using the data analysis section of the toolkit to better understand your school's data, consider the following key questions.

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data analysis | time | leadership | empowerment | prof development | facilities & resource