|Abstract or Summary
- The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between student-teacher ratios (STR) and caseload sizes and feelings of success and satisfaction and three factors
of burnout as reported by Oregon teachers of students with mild disabilities. The target population of this study (N = 1347) were teachers of students with mild disabilities currently employed in the State of Oregon. A sample (n = 800) was drawn from a list provided by the Oregon State Department of Education. Data were collected during the winter and spring of 1993. Four hundred and twenty-six useable responses were returned. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, and analyzed, using a battery which included the 1993 Oregon Caseload Survey (OCS), and a structured interview guide, developed by the researcher, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Form Ed (MBI).
The research question was: Were there relationships between STRs and caseload size
and teacher perceptions of success, satisfaction, and burnout? The major hypothesis was that large STRs and/or caseloads were major contributing factors to teacher perceptions of low job success and satisfaction, and to feelings of burnout.
Data were examined for the total sample (n = 426) and three subgroups, full-time
traditional (FIT), full-time non-traditional (FTNT) and part-time (PT). For the total
sample, no significant relationships were found between STR or caseload, and success and satisfaction. Significant relationships were found between STR and caseload, and emotional exhaustion for the total sample. For the FIT, a significant relationship was found between SIR and emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. For the FTNT, a significant relationship was found between caseload and emotional exhaustion. For the PT
group, significant relationships were found between caseload and success and satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion.
Analysis of the qualitative data revealed three common themes: (a) in importance,
teaching students took precedence over required paperwork and other related activities, (b) the numbers of students with more severe and diverse disabling conditions have dramatically increased the demands on teachers' time and attention, and severely strained existing resources; and (c) teachers agreed that mandated SIR and caseload caps were necessary to enable them to effectively meet individual student needs and at the same time adequately complete the related paperwork and activities required by law.