Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Olivia G Stewart

Second Advisor

Michael R Sampson


This explanatory sequential mixed methods study sought to understand the influences of teaching experience on perceptions of autonomy and competence on 7th through 12th grade English language arts teachers’ text selection decisions through a survey and interviews. The findings of this explanatory sequential design survey study could affirm practices of those teachers utilizing diverse texts in the classroom, encourage those lacking confidence in aligning nontraditional texts with their state’s standards, and remind administrators of teachers’ need for autonomy in the classroom. While no statistically significant difference was found on the autonomy and competence subscale scores based on teaching experience, the findings from this study further explain the obstacles teachers face when making choices for their students and their classrooms. Teachers exhibiting low perceived competence often faced limited opportunities to select texts for their students, while teachers exhibiting high perceived competence were more confident in their abilities to select texts. Teachers exhibiting low perceived autonomy shared issues of micromanagement, mandatory co-planning, censorship issues, budget constraints and lack of administrative support; teachers with high perceived autonomy shared they received administrative support and opportunities to select preferred texts and texts based on the needs of students.