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ERIC Number: ED526699
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 157
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-4531-4
Explaining the Gap: Teacher Efficacy and the Conceptualization of Minority Student Achievement
Wilmore, Christian
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
The No Child Left Behind legislation has drawn a great deal of attention to the gap' that exists between the academic performance of Black and Hispanic students as compared to their White counterparts. While numerous reform efforts have been implemented to address this disparity, to date little research has been done to connect a teacher's sense of self efficacy with explanatory models that have been developed to explain the under-performance of these students. Previous research has documented the connections between teacher self- efficacy and student achievement and teachers' classroom behaviors. Moreover, a teacher's sense of self-efficacy has been found to be influenced by the student population with whom the teacher works. The purpose of this study was to connect the self-efficacy and explanatory model constructs by looking for patterns between a teacher's sense of self efficacy and the explanatory model(s) he or she used to explain why Black and Hispanic students have not achieved to the levels of their White classmates. This study used the Ohio States Teachers Efficacy Scale (OSTES) and an explanatory models instrument that measured the teachers' assessment of the degree to which five explanatory models accounted for the under-performance of Black and Hispanic students. Additionally, based on the OSTES scores, 12 teachers, four at each level of high, medium, and low efficacy were interviewed. The teachers selected for this study taught in schools that had student populations in which at least 10% of the students were Hispanic, 10% were Black and 10% were White. A 56% response rate was obtained from the teachers who were invited to participate in the study and complete the OSTES and explanatory models instruments. Data from both the explanatory models instrument and the interviews suggested strong support for the deficit model from teachers of different efficacy levels. On the explanatory models instrument, 32% of the respondents indicated that they felt the deficit model was most likely to explain the under-performance of Black and Hispanic students. Additionally, the deficit model was the only one that was referred to by all 12 interview participants. Results of a Kendall tau rank correlation analysis, -0.216 at the p=0.01 level, however, indicated that lower efficacy teachers were more likely to support the deficit model than higher efficacy teachers. Other findings from this study revealed that lower efficacy teachers were less likely to persist in implementing interventions when there was no evidence of student improvement. Lower efficacy teachers were also more likely to describe building relationships with students that focused on work completion and assessing why the student was struggling. Higher efficacy teachers, however, described establishing relationships with students in order to learn about their life outside of school and to show an interest in the child. These findings are consistent with earlier studies of teacher efficacy. The findings of this study suggest that teachers of all levels of efficacy would benefit from being exposed to explanatory models other than the deficit model in order for them to consider a broader range of perspectives on the under-performance of Black and Hispanic students. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of teacher self-efficacy, as teachers of higher levels of self-efficacy were more likely to persist in their efforts to work with students despite no signs of improvement, and higher efficacy teachers were more likely to build relationships with students that focused on learning about students' lives outside of school as a way to help them better connect with their students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001