Date of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Joanna Cemore Brigden


Kindergarten teachers are immersed in a high stakes educational environment and this environment has altered how kindergarten teachers must teach. Exploring the different distribution of autonomy in high and low-income groups contributes to the research about educational equity. This study examined the relationship between income level of teaching environment and kindergarten teachers’ levels of self-perceived autonomy. The research question that guided this study was: do kindergarten teachers in higher income schools experience greater levels of self-perceived autonomy than kindergarten teachers in low-income schools? The Teaching Autonomy Scale developed by Pearson & Hall (1993) was used to survey 91 kindergarten teacher participants from 31 states. The findings showed a significant gap in self-perceived autonomy between the two socioeconomic groups. Kindergarten teachers in high-income school environments had significantly higher self-perceived autonomy than kindergarten teachers in low-income environments. The findings contribute to the body of research about teacher self-perceived autonomy and the effects of school level income.


autonomy, kindergarten teachers, socioeconomic status, equity, teaching environment

Subject Categories

Early Childhood Education | Education | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development


© Allison Catherine McDonald

Open Access