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Teacher Self-Efficacy and Student Achievement as Measured by North Carolina Reading and Math End-Of-Grade Tests

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Wayne M. II Eberle
Abstract:
Teachers continue to experience an increased sense of responsibility as it relates to job performance while still being required to produce at the same level with relation to student performance. This can cause an increase in personal stress and result in lowered feelings of self-worth, having a negative impact on service delivery to children and overall job performance. Bandura (1997) defined self-efficacy as a judgment of one's ability to organize and execute given types of performances. Furthermore, he suggests that the outcomes people anticipate depend largely upon their judgments of how well they will be able to perform in given situations. The same can be said for teachers in relation to their beliefs and attitudes toward their students' overall performance. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether a relationship exists between teachers' feeling of self-efficacy and their students' overall achievement with respect to North Carolina Reading and Math End-Of-Grade tests. Surveys were administered to teachers in grades three through eight, in eight Pre-K through 8 th grade schools. Data collected focused on teachers' feeling of self-efficacy. This study employed qualitative data gathered from participant surveys. Participating teachers in this study are in high performing schools as defined by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Their students have good academic records, coupled with high parental involvement (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2010). Six of the 14 comparisons within this study did not reveal a significant relationship between perceived teacher self-efficacy and North Carolina End-of-Grade reading and math test scores. However a relationship between perceived self-efficacy within gender did reveal that female participants tended to have higher perceived self-efficacy than that of the male participants. Male teacher participants tended to have higher North Carolina End-of-Grade reading test scores than those of female teacher participants. It was also discovered that each of the respondents, regardless of perceived self-efficacy score, had test results in both reading and math that were significantly higher than the state average. Finally it was also discovered that a relationship existed between teacher respondents with lower perceived self-efficacy scores and North Carolina math test scores.

CONTENTS

Page

ABSTRACT ………………………………………………………………………………

..

2

DEDICATION

................................ ................................ ................................ ......................

4

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

................................ ................................ ................................ ....

5

LIST OF FIGURES

................................ ................................ ................................ ..............

10

Chapter

1. INTRODUCTION

................................ ................................ ................................ .........

12

Definition of Self - Efficacy

................................ ................................ ........................

12

Statement of Problem

................................ ................................ ................................ .

15

Research Questions

................................ ................................ ................................ ....

16

Significance of Study

................................ ................................ ................................ .

18

Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ ....

19

Limitations and Delimitations

................................ ................................ ....................

20

Assumptions

................................ ................................ ................................ ...............

20

Overview of the Study

................................ ................................ ...............................

20

2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE

................................ ................................ ........................

22

Educational Reform

................................ ................................ ................................ ...

22

Factors Influencing Academic Success

................................ ................................ .....

24

Review of Teacher Assessments

................................ ................................ ................

28

7

Motivation and Empowerment

................................ ................................ ..................

29

Classroom Engagement

................................ ................................ .............................

32

Teacher Retention

................................ ................................ ................................ ......

33

Current Administration Impacting the Classroom

................................ .....................

35

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

38

3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ...................

40

Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ ................

40

Re search Questions and Null Hypothesis

................................ ................................ ..

40

Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .........

44

Population

................................ ................................ ................................ ..................

44

Bandura Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale

................................ ................................ ........

45

Data Collection

................................ ................................ ................................ ..........

46

Data Analysis

................................ ................................ ................................ .............

46

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

47

4. PRESENTATION OF DATA ................................ ................................ ........................

48

Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ ................

48

Demographic Characteristics

................................ ................................ .....................

49

Research Question 1

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

50

Research Question 2

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

51

8

Research Question 3

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

53

Research Question 4

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

55

Research Question 5

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

56

Research Question 6

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

58

Research Question 7

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

60

Research Question 8

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

62

Research Question 9

................................ ................................ ................................ ..

64

Research Question 10

................................ ................................ ................................

66

Research Question 11

................................ ................................ ................................

68

Research Question 12

................................ ................................ ................................

70

Research Question 13

................................ ................................ ................................

72

Research Question 14

................................ ................................ ................................

74

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

76

5. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

.......

78

Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ ................

78

Summary of Findings

................................ ................................ ................................ .

78

Implications for Practice

................................ ................................ ............................

80

Recommendations for Future Research

................................ ................................ .....

80

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

81

9

REFERENCES

................................ ................................ ................................ ......................

83

APPENDICES

................................ ................................ ................................ .......................

88

Appendix A: Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale

................................ ................................ .

88

Appendix B: Pe rmission to use Teachers‟ Sense of Efficacy Scale

..........................

92

Appendix C: Letter to Request Permission to use Data and Survey Teachers

..........

93

Appendix D: Letter to Accompany Survey

................................ ...............................

94

VITA ……………………………………………

................................ ................................ .

95

10

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure

Page

1.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for High and Low Self - Efficacy

Groups in Math ……………………………………………………………… .... 51

2.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for High and Low Self - Efficacy

Groups in Reading ……………………………………………………… …… ...

53

3.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for Female and Male Teachers

Perceived Self - Efficacy………………………………………………………… 54

4.

Boxplot for Dis tribution of Scores for Female and Male Teachers with High Perceived Self - Efficacy and their North Car olina End - of - Grade Math Tests….. 56

5.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for Female and Male Teachers with High Perceived Self - Efficacy and their Nort h Caroli na End - of - Grade Reading Tests… 58

6.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for Female and Male Teachers with

Low Perceived Self - Efficacy and their North Carolina End - of - Grade Math Tests… 60

7.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for Female and Male Teach ers with

Low Perceived Self - Efficacy and their North Carolina End - of - Grade

Reading Tests ………………………………………………………………… .. 62

8.

Histogram for Distribution of North Carolina End - of - Grade Math Scores

for Teachers Rated High in Perceived Self - Efficacy ……………………………

64

9.

Histogram for Distribution of North Carolina End - of - Grade Reading Scores for Teachers Rated High in Perceived Self - Efficacy ………………………………. 66

10.

Histogram for Distribution of North Carolina End - of - Grade Math Scores for

Teachers Rated Low in Perceived Self - Efficacy …………………………………

68

11

11.

Histogram for Distribution of North Carolina End - of - Grade Reading Scores for Teachers Rated

Low in Perceived Self - Efficacy ……………………………….. 70

12.

Boxplot for Distribution of Scores for Teachers in Gr ades Three through Five and Teachers in Grades Six through Eight an d their Perceived Self - Efficacy …… … 72

13.

Scatterplot for Teachers‟ Self - E fficacy and their Respective North Carolina

End - of - Grade Math Test S cores …………………………………………………

74

14.

Scatterplot

for Teachers‟ Self - E fficacy and their Respective North Carolina

End - of - Grade Reading Test S cores …………………………………………… … 76

12

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

As evidenced by the allocation of funds

to school districts, student achievement is important. Achie vement and student assessment are

fundam ental to

funding

because

the amount of money

allocated to school districts is

based on student performance from the prior school year. H igher student ach ievement

reduces allocated

funds . Lower student achievement increases the

money, support, and resources allocated .

The purpo se of this quantitative study wa s to determine whether

a relationship exists b etween teachers‟ feeling of self - efficacy and their students ‟

overall achievement

on

North Carolina Reading and Math End - Of - Grade tests . S elf - worth as it relates to teacher and student performance is not a new

idea, but

it causes educators and administrators to evaluate working condi tions in a way that wil l, hopefully, enable students the opportunity

fo r success through additional allocation of funds .

Funds used toward

staff development would give

educators the opportunity to collaborate about best practices.

Definition of Self - Efficacy

Merriam - Webster ‟s Dictionary

(1998) define s

the term self

as the “entire person of an individual, an individual‟ s typical character or behavior ” (p. 1059). In addition, the term efficacy is defined as, “the power to produce an effect ” (p. 368). T he term self - efficacy

has been defined many times in the professional literature

relating to education. S elf - efficacy is the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner with the idea of attaining an ultimate end result

(Bandura, 1986) .

Co vey

(1998)

wrote that one shou ld, “begin with the end in mind ”

( p. 95) .

Therefore ,

it can be inferred that if

teacher s begin

the school

year with goal setting they and their

students are most likely

to

succeed. When a teacher

is placed in a position to motivate and

13

influ ence

others ,

their self - efficacy must exude the necessary confidence and forwa rd thinking it takes to empower

students

and inspire them to produce (Bandura, 1977).

The idea of teacher self - efficacy has grown in interest since Bandura

first published an article on self - efficacy

in 1977 .

S el f - effi cacy has

since

been used as an independent variable within research and correlated with

best practices by teachers and student learning. R esearchers have define d

teacher self - efficacy as the belief teachers have in their a bility to teach that results

in improved student learning

(Tschannen - Mor an,

2002, Woolfolk - Hoy

& Hoy, 1998 ,

Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990b ). Bandura (1977 , 1993 ) define d

self - efficacy as a judgment of one‟s ability to organize and execu te given t ypes of performances. Furthermore ,

he note d

that the “outcomes people anticipate depend largely on their judgments of how well they will be able to perfo rm in given situations ”

(p . 21) . The same ca n be s tated

for teachers, their beliefs

and

attitudes toward their school, grade level, curriculum , and their student‟s overall performance.

T he concept

of t eacher

self - efficacy can be traced to

a group of RAND

researchers that used Rotten‟s locus of control the ory to determine whether teachers gravitated more toward an internal o r an external locus of control (Fives, 2003). The RAND Corporation used this research and information to further study teacher characteristics related to student achi evement.

(Armor

et al., 1976). Armor et al . (1976)

further examined the RAND research and found teacher efficacy to be str ongly related to

variations within students‟ success on assessments related to reading and reading achievement. According to As hton and Webb

(19 86), who s e

research involved secondary students , it was discovered that student achievement i n mathematics was

linked positively with teacher efficacy.

“People‟s beliefs in their efficacy affect almost everything they do: how they think, motiva te themselves, feel, and behave ”

( Bandura , 1977, p . 53 ) .

Bandura expand ed

on the notion

14

of efficacy and locus of control stating that “in general, people who believe that their outcomes are determined by their behavior tend to be more active than those who p erceive outcomes fatalistically ”

(p . 23) .

Teacher self - efficacy has

been shown to predict student

attitudes (Anderson, Green ,

& Loewen, 198 8; Cheung & Cheng, 1 997), teacher burnout

( Skaalvik & Sk aalvik, 2007), teacher strategies (Allinder, 1994; Woolfolk,

Ro soff ,

& Hoy, 1990 a ) ,

and

student achievement (Hines & Kritsonis, 2010).

Since the National Commission on Excellence in Education‟s report in 1983 entitled

A Nation at Risk, many have sought new ways to raise student standards and

student achievement. Although this report continues to come under attack, it is widely accepted as the corn erstone of educ ational reform (Fielding, Kerr, & Rosier, 2007).

It established the goals for the third national reform si nce 1900 ,

which has led to a n i ncreased amount o f pressure placed upon schools and teachers to increase student achievement with relation to standardize d

tests (Fielding et al. , 2007).

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

(2010) ,

more emphasis was placed on creating math and reading content gateway benchmarks . These benchmarks could keep children from entering the next grade level if they were not successfully mastered. This posed quite a dilemma within the North Carolina public school system. Questions we re raised that included: What would happen if the number of children retained caused a swell in the grade level; Would this go against the research that suggested that retaining children would pose an increase in the potential dropout rate; and Is North Ca rolina prepared to implement alternative settings for children who just si mply cannot pass certain tests? In October 2010 ,

the North Carolina State Board of Educat ion dropped certain grade level gateway benchmarks for promotion , signifying a change in app roach in determining student mastery .

15

Statement of Problem

It is a widely accepted thought that people will work harder and more effi ciently when placed in challenging situations in which they are

empowered to feel success

(Bandura, 1986, 1997) . In contrast , people who experience burnout will often

cite

poor job satisfaction as one of th e top reasons for displeasure (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007). In order to retain and promote a positive atmosphere within schools ,

teachers must be supported, parents m ust be validated and affirmed ,

and children must be challenged to work to reach high expectations set before them

(Brenderson & Scribner, 1996) . Marty Hemric , Superintendent of Watauga County Schools

stated that the current educational atmosphere prese nts

many challenges with regard

to student growth

that, by its very nature,

begin s

to create a feeling of polarization between what children nee d and what is available to them (personal communication, July 6, 2010). In his opinion it is a struggle between ma ximizing

instruction

and ser vice delivery to children and limited resources.

Schools are mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) to ensure that all students make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the content area of reading.

In addition, the ac t also stated

that in 2005 - 2006 all

teachers should be highly qualified in their subject areas. (Weaver, 2004). As a result , state s

and local boards of education are

continuing their push

for even higher s tandards (NCLB, 2001 ; NCDPI, 2010 ).

Teachers must also be certified to teach content areas specific to student age groups. In North Carolina, t eachers not deemed highly qualified are placed on a p robationary period for up to 2

years and required to obtain necessary licensure to continue in their fie ld (NCDPI, 2010). This also pertains to those professionals who enter the profession without a valid teacher license b ut are qualified by other means

such is the example of lateral entry teachers.

16

This study focused

on teachers‟ sense of efficacy

and its relation to student achievement on the North Carolina End - o f - Grade

(EOG)

tests in re ading and math. T he purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between teachers‟ perceived sense of self - efficacy

based on the Bandura Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale (see Appendix A)

and the reading and math achie vement of students i n grades three

through eight .

Research Questions

The following

questions relating to teachers‟

sens e of self - efficacy and students‟

achievement were addressed:

1.

Is ther e a significant difference between North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores for teachers who are rated low in

self - efficacy

and scores for teachers who are rated high in self - efficacy ?

2.

Is there a significant difference between North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores

for teachers who are rat ed low in self - efficacy and scores for teachers who are rated high in self - efficacy ?

3.

Is there a significant difference between male and female teachers‟ sense of se lf efficacy?

4.

For teac hers rated hig h in self - efficacy , is there a significant difference between North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores for males and North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores for females?

5.

For teachers rated high

in self - efficacy , is there a significant difference b etween North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores for males and North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores for females?

17

6.

For

teachers rated

low

in self - efficacy , is there a significant difference between North Carolina End - of - Grade math test score s for males and North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores for females?

7.

For teachers rated low

in self - efficacy , is there a significant difference between North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores for males and North Carolina End - of - Grade reading t est scores for females?

8.

For teachers rated high in self - efficacy, is there a significant difference between

the participants‟

North Carolina

End - of - Grade math

test scores and the North Carolina

End - of - Grade math

test score state average?

9.

For teachers rated

high in self - efficacy,

is there a significant difference between

participants‟

North Carolina

End - of - Grade

reading test scores and

North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test score state average?

10.

For teachers rated low in self - efficacy, is there a significant difference between

participants‟

North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores and the North Carolina End - of - Grade math test score state average?

11.

For teachers rated low in self - efficacy, is there a significant difference between

participants‟

No rth Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores and the North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test score state average?

12.

Is there a significant difference between teachers in grades three through five and teachers in grades six through eight with regard to thei r levels of perceived self - efficacy?

13.

Is there a significant relationship between teachers‟ self - efficacy and their respective North Carolina End - of - Grade math test scores?

18

14.

Is there a significant relationship between teachers‟ self - efficacy and their respe ctive North Carolina End - of - Grade reading test scores?

Significance of Study

This study may be

beneficial to all in educ ation who strive to balance

wha t is right for children with

se rvice delivery . T eacher s

who are

passionate a bout their performance take

pride i n the job they do. Skaalvik and Skaalvik

(2007)

expanded on Bandura‟s

( 1982, 1997) research

in an effort to evaluate whether

a

relationship exists between teacher efficacy and

burnout using the Norwegian Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale (NT SES). The NTSES survey is similar to the survey

developed by Bandura ( see Appendix A) that

was selected for this dissertation once

permission was granted by Hoy ( see Appendix B) . Results indicate d

that teach ers with higher feeling of self - efficacy experi ence less burnout and will pr oduce higher a chieving students (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007). The results can be extended to the United States and help as the push to continue successful participation

in a

global economy coupled

with the hope of preparing

children who

are well adapted t o the ever changing world they find themselv es a part of

(Friedman, 2006).

It is hypothesized that teachers with a higher sense of efficacy will empower their students and challenge them to perform better in relation to sta te and local standards, thus pro ducing students who are higher achievers.

Furthermore is it also hypothesized that elementary (grades three through five) grad e level teachers‟ sense of self - efficacy will be higher than that of teachers within the middle g rades (six through eight).

19

Definition of Terms

To ensure the meaning and un derstandings of the terms used in

this study, the following definitions

are provided .

1.

Achievement test:

An assessment that measures a student‟s currently acquired knowledge and skills in one or more of the content areas common to most school curricula (for example, reading, language arts, mathematics, science ,

and social studies) (CBT/McGraw - Hill, 1997, p .

42).

2.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) of 1965 that was

signed into law on 8 January 2002 by President George W. Bush in an effort to improve student achievement

especially for the economically disadvanta ged

(U S Department of Education, 2003 , p. 3 ).

3.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP):

Benchmarks developed by states to measure learning progress

(US D epartm ent of Education, 2003 ).

4.

North Carolina End - of - Grade Test

(EOG):

T he t est designed to measure student perfo rmance on the goals, objectives ,

and grade - level competencies specified in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2010).

5.

Self - efficacy : “Belief in one‟s capabilities to organize and execute

the sources

of action required to manage prospective situatio ns ” (Bandura, 1997, p. 3) .

6.

Teacher self - efficacy:

A teacher‟s “judgment of his or her capabilities to bring about desired outcomes of student engagement and learning” (Tschanne n - Moran &

Woolfolk - Hoy, 2001, p. 783).

20

Limitations and Delimitations

This study was limited to a population that con sisted of teachers in the third

through eighth grades in one school system in n orthwest North Carolina during the 2010 - 2011 school year. The sampl e was drawn from teachers who taught at all eight of the Pre - K through eighth grade schools in that school system that year. Student EOG results were preexisting

from the 2009 - 2010 school year from the same school system.

Finally, socioeconomic status was not taken into account during this research.

Assumptions

I t is assumed that the Bandura Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale ( see Appendix A ) provide s accurate information with regard

to the degree of perceived teacher

self - effi cacy , self - efficac y

of job performance ,

and empowerment. The 30 - question survey was

designed to provide an overall assessment of per ceived self - efficacy levels regarding teaching and instruction

(Hoy, 2008) .

Overview of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter 1 contains an introduction to the study , definition of self - efficacy, statement of the problem, research questio ns, significance of th e study, definition of terms,

limitations and delimitations ,

and assumptions . Chapter 2 includes a review of literature that is o rganized as

follows: educational reform,

factor s influencing academic success, review of teacher assessments,

motivation and empowerment, classroom engagement , teacher retention,

current

administration impacting the classroom, and a summary. Chapter 3 includes the research methodology within the subsections of introduction, resea rch questions and null hypothese s, research desig n , population, Bandura Teacher Self - Efficacy Scale, dat a coll ection, data analysis,

and a summary. Chapter 4 provides

the results of the study.

21

Finally ,

Chapter 5 includes a summary of the findings , conclusions ,

recommendations for further research , and recommendations for practice .

22

CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Since the implementation

of the No Child Left Behind Act

(NCLB)

in 2002 ,

low performing

schools and teachers ha ve been labeled with the term failing.

No doubt this has

take n

its toll on school, district , and community

educational climat e s . After all , what parent wants a child to be part of a school that the government has deemed as f ailing? W hat kind of support can a teacher expect from an organization that is failing according to

state standards?

School

di stricts have been char ged with closing the achievement gap

and have been

accused of teaching to the test rather than the curriculum.

Ba ndura‟s

( 1995, 1997)

work examine d

related views of efficacy and how employers can use an employee ‟s feeling of self - worth to enhance

outcome s. B etter student achievement can be attained when

students are placed within a setting that embraces the notion of community through support and positive choices.

Teachers with high perceived sense of self - efficacy can create the necessary class room climates that can help children reach their maximum potential (Bandura, 1993)

Educational Reform

America

is currently in the midst of its

third major educational reform in a century ( Daggett, 1997).

The first can

be traced back

to 1900 and lasted until 1930. During those three decades, the school year increased from 144 days to 174 days . In addition, the average number of days a student was absent from school decreased by 19 days ( Fielding

et al. , 200 7). Furthermore, Fielding

Full document contains 96 pages
Abstract: Teachers continue to experience an increased sense of responsibility as it relates to job performance while still being required to produce at the same level with relation to student performance. This can cause an increase in personal stress and result in lowered feelings of self-worth, having a negative impact on service delivery to children and overall job performance. Bandura (1997) defined self-efficacy as a judgment of one's ability to organize and execute given types of performances. Furthermore, he suggests that the outcomes people anticipate depend largely upon their judgments of how well they will be able to perform in given situations. The same can be said for teachers in relation to their beliefs and attitudes toward their students' overall performance. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether a relationship exists between teachers' feeling of self-efficacy and their students' overall achievement with respect to North Carolina Reading and Math End-Of-Grade tests. Surveys were administered to teachers in grades three through eight, in eight Pre-K through 8 th grade schools. Data collected focused on teachers' feeling of self-efficacy. This study employed qualitative data gathered from participant surveys. Participating teachers in this study are in high performing schools as defined by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Their students have good academic records, coupled with high parental involvement (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2010). Six of the 14 comparisons within this study did not reveal a significant relationship between perceived teacher self-efficacy and North Carolina End-of-Grade reading and math test scores. However a relationship between perceived self-efficacy within gender did reveal that female participants tended to have higher perceived self-efficacy than that of the male participants. Male teacher participants tended to have higher North Carolina End-of-Grade reading test scores than those of female teacher participants. It was also discovered that each of the respondents, regardless of perceived self-efficacy score, had test results in both reading and math that were significantly higher than the state average. Finally it was also discovered that a relationship existed between teacher respondents with lower perceived self-efficacy scores and North Carolina math test scores.