Self-efficacy beliefs, Novice teachers, Alternative certification


Current federal reforms require a highly-qualified teacher in every classroom to promote higher levels of student performance. In an attempt to provide a sufficient and sustainable number of highly qualified teachers in the workforce, alternative certification training programs have come alongside traditional college of education training programs. Proponents of alternative certification programs contend the process of on-the-job training will potentially address the problem of teacher shortages. However, opponents see these programs as an inadequate training process with future ramification for both teachers and students. As more and more classroom teachers are choosing alternative certification routes, there is growing uncertainty as to whether or not this is an effective way to train teachers. There is a substantial body of research that indicates a teacher's self efficacy beliefs can be an indicator of his or her performance in the classroom. Evidence demonstrates a relationship between teachers' beliefs about their personal ability to affect students' achievement and the outcomes of both the teachers' and the students' efforts (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007). By identifying strengths and weaknesses in self-efficacy beliefs, it is possible to provide interventions such as professional development or peer mentoring to increase an individual's sense of efficacy, which could then improve his or her teaching performance, and ultimately improve student achievement. The purpose of this research study was to identify and describe the differences between (1) the self-efficacy beliefs of teachers from traditional college of education programs and from alternative certification programs in order to identify patterns or correlations between type of training and teachers' sense of efficacy, and (2) the self efficacy beliefs of novice, experienced, and expert teachers in order to determine patterns or correlations between years of experience and teachers' sense of efficacy. This research study investigated the self-efficacy beliefs of 125 high school teachers in Brevard County, Florida, with either college of education training or alternative certification training and with either novice, experienced, or expert classroom teaching experience. The first part of the study analyzed teachers' responses to the 24 items on Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy's Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale; the second part analyzed 6 researcher-designed items referring to teacher training programs and personal classroom experience. The three subscales that directed the items on the questionnaire were Efficacy for Student Engagement, Efficacy for Instructional Strategies, and Efficacy for Classroom Management. Factor analyses indicated 21 of the 24 items from the current research study loaded on the same three factors identified on the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale. The 6 items created specifically for this study loaded into two factors identified appropriately as training program and classroom experience. A reliability analysis resulted in a total alpha coefficient of .9271 for the 24 items on the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale for the 125 participants in the current research study which is consistent with an alpha of .94 in previous studies using the same scale. A total alpha coefficient of .6973 was determined for the 6 researcher-designed items. Findings from the t-tests and ANOVAs indicated that there was no relationship between self-efficacy beliefs of college of education trained teachers and alternative certification trained teachers; few relationships between novice, experienced, and expert teachers; and few interaction effects between type of teacher training and number of years of classroom experience. While the results of the study did not reveal statistically significant differences in the teacher groups, the teachers' responses and comments indicated personal classroom experiences created higher levels of self-efficacy than teacher training programs. Contrary to the researcher's expectations and conventional wisdom, both alternative certification teachers and novice teachers perceived themselves to be efficacious in the classroom. One possible explanation for the failure to reach statistically significant differences in the type of training and years of experience variables is that there simply are not distinct differences. Generally teachers with alternative certification training are immersed in programs that provide on-the-job training and support from a mentor, and as experts in their field of study, they exhibit self-assurance in their classroom behaviors. Commonly novices enter teaching with high expectations and they bring innovative practices and a fresh outlook to the classroom. Another possible explanation for the failure to reach statistically significant differences is the over-representation of some groups which could possibly have skewed the results. From the group of 125 participants, 86 teachers had college of education training while only 39 had alternative certification training. There were 79 expert teachers with ten or more years of experience, 35 experienced teachers with four to nine years, and only 11 novice teachers with three or less years. While the results of the research study did not offer statistically significant differences in the groups of teachers, there is much practical significance to be gained for district and school-level personnel in planning professional development opportunities. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses in teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, professional development and peer support can be provided to address the unique needs of each teacher group. Recommendations were made for a synthesis of current practices from both college of education programs and alternative certification programs: a series of half-day internship experiences with relevant content coursework could be combined with on-the-job experience and mentoring support based on current alternative certification programs. This research study lacks generalizability, so further research should include middle school and elementary teachers, and teachers from other counties and states. Because teachers' self-efficacy beliefs are personal and not necessarily reflective of actual practice, an investigation of the relationship between perceived self-efficacy beliefs and observed classroom effectiveness should be investigated.


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Graduation Date



Allen, Kay


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational and Human Sciences

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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Education Commons