NCES Releases Statistics in Brief on Public School Teacher Autonomy in the Classroom


The National Council of Education Statistics (NCES) has released Public School Teacher Autonomy in the Classroom Across School Years 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12. This report traces the feelings of public school educators when it comes to their own autonomy in the classroom. According to the report brief, larger percentages of teachers perceived low autonomy in 2007-08 when compared to data from 2003-04 , with still larger percentages in 2011–12.

The report examines a construct of teacher autonomy based on teachers’ responses to six questions regarding perceptions of influence over classroom instruction and classroom management.

Some of the key findings of the brief include:

  • Across all three survey years, the majority of teachers perceived moderate autonomy.
  • Perceptions of autonomy shifted from high to low for teachers who taught in low-poverty schools and who taught in towns. In 2003–04, larger percentages of these teachers perceived high autonomy than perceived low autonomy. In 2007–08 and again in 2011–12, the reverse was true; larger percentages perceived low autonomy than perceived high autonomy.
  • In each year, teachers whose main assignment was music or who worked in schools with 100–199 students were the only teachers with larger percentages of teachers who perceived high autonomy than low autonomy.

For more information, see the full report.