The Relationship between Teacher Efficacy Levels and Virginia Standards of Learning Fifth Grade Math Achievement in One Virginia School Division
Phillips, Daniel Michael
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between teacher efficacy levels and fifth grade Virginia SOL Mathematic achievement. This study sought to determine the extent to which personal efficacy, general efficacy, and total efficacy account for fifth grade Virginia Standards of Learning Mathematic achievement over and above that explained by teacher experience, teacher education, and class size. A critical review of the previous research methodologies and findings on teacher efficacy demonstrated the need for further research in this area. This study hoped to provide school officials in educational leadership with data necessary to plan professional development to improve classroom instruction, teacher efficacy, and student achievement. This study utilized a quantitative survey which measured personal, general, and total efficacy levels among fifth grade teachers in 11 elementary schools located in central Virginia. Twenty-one of the 27 (78%) 5th grade teachers that were surveyed, completed and returned the survey used in the study. Other data, such as teacher education, teacher experience, class size, and student achievement scores were collected from the division with the permission of the division's superintendent. Results of the data analysis indicated that there was no statistically significant relationship between teacher efficacies and 5th grade mathematics SOL achievement. The findings demonstrated that personal teaching efficacy, general teaching efficacy, and total teaching efficacy had no significant impact on 5th grade mathematics SOL achievement over and above the extent that teacher experience, teacher education, and class size impacted student achievement. It should be noted that the following limitations may have impacted the final results of the analysis. Class sizes were of mixed math ability, ranging from 11-23 students. Special education students tended to be in the smaller sized inclusion classes and gifted and talented students tended to be in the larger class sizes. Teacher efficacy levels were based on self-report. The sample size was small and limited generalizability of the results due to the focus on one Virginia school division. Also, student factors, such as prior achievement, were not included in the study. In this study, teacher education and class size did show significance associated with student achievement. Again, the limitations may have contributed to the findings of this study. The study showed that teachers with a master's degree had lower student achievement than teachers with a bachelor's degree, but the results might have been impacted from the limitations. Larger class sizes also had increased student achievement. Factors, such as class make-up of students (smaller classes typically had special education inclusion students and larger class sizes typically included gifted and talented students), class size (smallest class was 11 students and the largest class was 24), and teacher assignment (teachers with master's degrees could have been assigned to students with more academic needs), need to be considered when reviewing these findings, implications, and recommendations. The implications and recommendations were drawn from the findings of this study. The factors and limitations of the study were taken into consideration when the implications and recommendations were developed.
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