Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Advisor/Chair:

Deborah Byrnes

Abstract

The focus of this study was threefold. First, the study sought to determine the validity and reliability of an instrument being used to measure teacher efficacy. After psychometric analysis, the Utah Teacher Efficacy Scale (UTES) was deemed as both a valid and reliable instrument for the purpose of measuring preservice and novice elementary school teacher efficacy.

Second, this study analyzed teacher self-efficacy of preservice and novice elementary school teachers at two different points in a time - once at the end of their teacher preparation program, and again after they had taught for one academic year. The sample (N = 123) for this study was created from graduates of teacher preparation programs throughout the state of Utah. A two-factor repeated measures ANOVA design was used to measure one between-subjects factor (Factor A) and one within-subjects factor (Factor B). Factor A involved a comparison between two independent groups of prospective teachers based on the type of student teaching assignment, number of student teaching placements, and the number of literacy methods courses completed. The two levels of Factor B consisted of two different UTES measurement occasions.

Results of this analysis indicated that preservice teachers in this study reported high teacher efficacy. As these individuals became teachers, their teacher efficacy fell, indicating there is room for improvement in presenting the realities of teaching. Additionally, teacher preparation program characteristics such as the type of student teaching experience (student teaching or internship), and the number of student teaching placements (one or two) do not seem to provide statistically significant advantages over time. The number of literacy methods courses, however, does seem to provide statistically significant advantages in securing and maintaining high teacher efficacy over time in the areas of global and reading teacher efficacy.

Third, the study also analyzed how school context variables affect teacher efficacy. Novice teachers (N = 136) were asked to rate the usefulness of professional development and the helpfulness of the mentoring support they received. Results of this analysis showed that professional development and mentoring support, if perceived as useful and helpful, had a positive and statistically significant correlation with teacher efficacy.

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