Date of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Joanna Cemore Brigden


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

Subject Categories

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


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.


© Allison Catherine McDonald

Open Access