First Advisor

Dara Shifrer

Term of Graduation

Summer 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Autonomy, Middle school teachers -- Job satisfaction, Mathematics teachers -- Job satisfaction, Middle school teaching



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 37 pages)


Throughout the 2000s, standards-based education policies decreased the autonomy of public schools across the U.S., deprofessionalizing educators and limiting their participation in the development of curriculum and instructional policy. Many education scholars argue that, rather than professionals with specialized skills and knowledge, standards-based reforms position teachers as technicians, accountable for measurable output in accordance with externally imposed standards. This literature suggests that such education policies may have implications for teachers’ job satisfaction, especially those working in schools or subject fields that are particularly susceptible to standardized curriculum and accountability procedures. Using nationally representative data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS 2018), this thesis explores how working in a nonautonomous public school relates to 7th, 8th, and 9th grade teachers’ job satisfaction, analyzing differences across math and non-math teachers in schools with distinct socioeconomic compositions. Regression analyses of 634 math teachers and 1,519 non-math teachers from 146 public schools indicate that math teachers in nonautonomous mid- and high-SES schools have significantly lower job satisfaction on average than their counterparts in autonomous schools. For math teachers in low SES schools, however, working in nonautonomous environments relates to significantly higher job satisfaction, indicating a protective interaction effect of working in schools that are both nonautonomous and low SES. No significant relationships were found for non-math teachers, supporting previous literature suggesting that professionalization processes associated with instructional standardization may be particularly salient for math educators.


© 2022 Hannah Sean Ellefritz

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