Alternative-specific and Case-specific Factors Involved in the Decisions of Islamic School Teachers Affecting Teacher Retention: A Discrete Choice Experiment

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Year of Completion


First Advisor

R.H. Red Owl


Teacher retention is a concern in all educational sectors in America. It is of special importance to Islamic schools, which tend to lack the resources necessary in recruiting and training new teachers. This dissertation addressed this problem in full-time Islamic schools in New York State by conducting a discrete choice experiment, which reflects an innovative, interdisciplinary, new methodological approach borrowed primarily from the fields of economics, social psychology, and decision theory. This approach re-conceptualized teacher retention as a series of decisions or discrete choices made throughout a teacher's career (as suggested by human capital theory) and has not been employed in this manner previously in educational research on teacher retention. This new approach offered additional insights in this important area of educational research, theory, and practice. This study examined the effects of six position-related characteristics in the discrete choice experiment: (a) opportunities to practice Islam, (b) work environment, (c) amount of work, (d) salary, (e) prestige, and (f) health benefits on the decisions of teachers in Islamic schools to continue teaching in those schools. The study also determined how the subjects’ characteristics (case-specific attributes) interacted with these position-related characteristics (alternative-specific attributes). All six alternative-specific attributes were found to be important to a certain extent, but their levels of influence varied across three preference profiles. Generally, the single most important factor affecting teacher retention in Islamic schools is the work environment of the school followed by the presence of opportunities to practice the Islamic faith. Contrary to the common belief, salary (and prestige) had the least impact on retaining Islamic school teachers.