Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1994


This study examines the phenomenon that although 8,900 educators have obtained Career Ladder Levels II and III, there are 27,620 in Tennessee who are eligible for the upper levels of the Career Ladder, but have not obtained these levels. The purpose of the study was to identify the barriers, as perceived by eligible educators in Tennessee, which discourage them from attempting to gain upper level Career Ladder status. The research design was descriptive and utilized data from a survey instrument constructed by the researcher. A pilot test of the instrument was conducted, reliability coefficients calculated, and survey items retained, modified, or deleted based on the results. The final survey contained 62 statements (grouped into 11 subscales) and a demographic section. A total of 575 surveys were sent to eligible educators in the public schools of the seven districts of Tennessee; of those, 426 were returned, and 404 responses were used. Other variables studied were age, gender, race, job classification, years of teaching experience, educational attainment, future plans to attempt upper levels, previous attempts at the upper levels, information sources concerning the program, and overall opinions of the Career Ladder program. Findings include: The most problematic barriers in rank order from greatest to least were Personal Obstacles, Teaching Professionalism, Evaluation Procedures, Political Facet, Participation Process, System Improvement, Financial Considerations, and Individual Role Professionalism; three of the barriers were found to be non-problematic, these are Teacher Morale, TEA Support, and Administrative Support; significant differences regarding the barriers exist in all demographic areas included in the study except for job classification; the majority of respondents had a negative overall opinion of the Career Ladder, however, the opinion varied with the source of information about the program. Educators who received their information from official sources had a more positive opinion of the program than those who got their information from informal sources. It appears that the barriers identified in this study may be factors in keeping eligible educators from participating in the upper levels of the Career Ladder.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted