Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Travis Boyce and Angela Vaughan


Presently, teacher retention rates are exceedingly low in the United States with one-third of teachers leaving the field after three years. More significantly, half of all teachers in underperforming schools quit within three years. In November of 2011, Colorado passed Senate Bill 10-191, which mandates an annual evaluation for all teachers in the State of Colorado. If preservice teachers are increasingly worried about potential job loss partially due to uncontrollable factors, such as the standardized test scores of traditionally low performing students, many might choose to leave the field before even entering the classroom, exacerbating teacher shortages particularly in low-income school districts. In order to investigate whether Senate Bill 10-191 is already affecting preservice teacher decisions with regards to teaching in Colorado, three major research questions were asked: What is the level of knowledge of preservice teachers on Colorado Senate Bill 10-191? Does Bill 10-191 impact teacher decisions regarding where to teach? How does Bill 10-191 impact a preservice teacher’s goals to teach? Drawing on a pool of preservice teachers ready to enter the field at a Colorado state-supported institution known nationally for its teacher education program, this presentation examines potential effects that legislation may have on preservice teacher job satisfaction and retention. Preservice teachers in a secondary education teaching program were surveyed and interviewed in a focus group to determine their professional aspirations as teachers, their willingness to teach in diverse school settings, and how they felt Bill 10-191 might affect their roles as educators. The findings in this research indicate a correlation between length of time spent in the teacher education program and knowledge of Bill 10-191, as well as the idea that, while the bill may decrease the amount of opportunities for student teaching, it may increase the amount of job openings for preservice teachers upon graduation. These results have the potential to redefine teacher education programs to include more education of the bill and the way it will shape the teaching profession at earlier stages of their program, as well as the potential for the State of Colorado to redefine the implementation of the bill to match high teacher expectations with high teacher retention rates in all school districts.