Grit and Self-Directed Learning

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Consent for Research Participation

Research Study Title:  The nitty gritty of educator preparation programs: An examination of teacher candidates' passion, perseverance, and learner self-directedness

Researcher(s):  Dr. Jeff Beard, Dr. Elizabeth MacTavish, and Dr. Blanche O’Bannon, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Why am I being asked to be in this research study?
We are asking you to participate in this research study because you are completing your apprentice teaching in the VolsTeach program in the department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.  As an AT, your passion, perseverance, and self-directedness are valuable for the program’s future plans to retain and recruit more teachers.

What is this research study about?
The purpose of the research study is to examine the relationships among grit (a construct from positive psychology defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals), self-directed learning, and progression toward teacher licensure of students completing their apprentice teaching in the educator preparation program (EPP) at UTK. Through examining these relationships, the goal of the study is to build upon the understanding of students' characteristics and their persistence toward completion of the apprentice teaching semester.

How long will I be in the research study?
Participants in this study will be asked to complete the linked survey two times – once at the beginning of the apprentice teaching semester (August) and a second time at the end of the apprentice teaching semester (December).  The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

What will happen if I say “Yes, I want to be in this research study”?
Your participation in this research study includes taking an online survey about your grit and self-direction in learning, as well as identifying your current stage in the degree program, how you are paying for courses, and demographic items of age, gender, and ethnicity.

If you choose to participate in this study, you will enter your NetID. The purpose in collecting your NetID is to contact you via email with the same survey in December.

What happens if I say “No, I do not want to be in this research study”?
Being in this study is up to you.  You can say no now or leave the study later.  For this study, there are no foreseeable risks other than those encountered in daily life. 

What happens if I say “Yes” but change my mind later?
Even if you decide to be in the study now, you can change your mind and stop at any time.  If you decide to stop before the study is completed, any data you provided will not be used in the study. 

Are there any possible risks to me?
We don’t know of any risks to you from being in the study.

Are there any benefits to being in this research study?
The benefits of this study are two-fold: First, there is a benefit to building further understanding of the characteristics of teacher candidates and their persistence toward licensure completion.  With the data from our study, we hope to provide additional supports throughout the educator preparation program to ensure teacher candidates success.  Second, there is a benefit to you as a participant to learn more about, and reflect upon, your passion and perseverance in attaining long-term goals and your self-directedness in learning. 

Who can see or use the information collected for this research study?
We will make every effort to prevent anyone who is not on the research team from knowing that you gave us information or what information came from you.  We will protect the confidentiality of your information by keeping data on a password-protected laptop. 

If information from this study is published or presented at scientific meetings, your name and other personal information will not be used.  Any demographic information that could identify you as a participant will not be used in any publications or presented at any meetings.

What will happen to my information after this study is over?
We will not keep your information to use for further research.  Your name and other information that can directly identify you will be deleted from your research data collected as part of the study.

We will not share your research data with other researchers.

What else do I need to know?
If we learn about any new information that may change your mind about being in the study, we will tell you.  If that happens, you may be asked to sign a new consent form.

Who can answer my questions about this research study?
If you have questions or concerns about this study, or have experienced a research related problem or injury, contact the researchers, Dr. Jeff Beard (, Dr. Elizabeth MacTavish (, and/or Dr. Blanche O’Bannon (

For questions or concerns about your rights or to speak with someone other than the research team about the study, please contact:
Institutional Review Board
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1534 White Avenue
Blount Hall, Room 408
Knoxville, TN 37996-1529
Phone: 865-974-7697

I have read this form, been given the chance to ask questions and have my questions answered.  If I have more questions, I have been told who to contact.  By clicking the “Next” button below, I am agreeing to be in this study.  I can print or save a copy of this consent information for future reference.  If I do not want to be in this study, I can close my internet browser.
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