ERG SES H 13, Students and Teachers in Education
Background and Research Questions
Teacher education and experience have been traditionally viewed as important indicators of teacher quality in educational research, and a number of studies on their effects on student achievement were conducted in Sweden (Myrberg, 2007; Johansson, 2013) and internationally (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Wayne & Youngs, 2003; Nye, Konstantopolous & Hedges, 2004).
However, less attention has been paid to teachers’ self-perceptions of their competence, or teacher self-efficacy beliefs. These beliefs in one’s personal capabilities to produce desired levels of performance (Bandura, 1997) are important in explaining teacher behaviors in the classroom and its effects on student performance. Studies conducted on the teacher self-efficacy suggest that it is positively related to teacher instructional practices, aspirations, and commitment to the profession as well as to student attitudes, motivation and learning achievement (Tschannen-Moran& Hoy, 2001, Skaalvik&Skaalvik, 2007, Dellinger et al., 2008, Klassen et al., 2011, Klassen&Tze, 2014).
Besides, most of the previous research on teacher efficacy was conducted in the North American region (Klassen et al., 2011), therefore there is a need to investigate this issue in the European context.
The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the teacher self-efficacy construct and its relation to student learning achievement. The study uses Swedish data from TIMSS 2011 comparative survey of student achievement in mathematics and science, and poses the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between indicators of teacher self-efficacy in TIMSS 2011 and dimensions of teacher self-efficacy previously described in literature?
- How are the identified dimensions of teacher self-efficacy in mathematics related to student mathematics achievement in TIMSS 2011?
There are two main theoretical frameworks underlying the development of a teacher self-efficacy construct (Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998).
The first theoretical direction is Bandura’s social cognitive theory (1977; 1986). Within this perspective self-efficacy is defined as a cognitive process in which beliefs of individuals about their capacity to perform a given task at a certain level of achievement are constructed. These beliefs have an impact on: 1) how much effort and persistence one will put in accomplishing a task, 2) how well one can deal with failures and 3) the stress level one experiences when handling demanding assignments.
Another theoretical thread is based on Rotter’s (1966) locus of control theory which defined self-efficacy as the extent to which teachers believed that they could control the reinforcement of their actions, depending on whether control was found within themselves or the environment. The concept of teacher self-efficacy within this theoretical framework was defined and measured by mid 1970s by the RAND Corporation researchers (Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998).
Since the introduction of the concept, researchers have been developing various conceptualizations and measurements of the teacher self-efficacy (Tschannen-Moran&Hoy, 2001). But despite a significant progress in creating accurate measures of teacher self-efficacy, a number of problems remained: few of the measures clearly reflect the meaning of self-efficacy, take into account the specific contexts of subjects being taught, and use meaningful teaching tasks (Dellinger et al., 2008).
Today, debates on definitions, measures and effects of teacher self-efficacy beliefs are still ongoing. The current study attempts to operationalize the construct on the basis on Bandura’s theoretical framework, taking advantage of the data from the most recent international comparative study TIMSS 2011.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social-Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman. Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1), 1-44. Dellinger, A., Bobbet, J., Olivier, D., & Ellett, Ch. (2008). Measuring Teacher’s Self-Efficacy Beliefs: Development and Use of the TEBS-Self. Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (751-766). Johansson, S. (2013). On the Validity of Reading Assessments: Relationships Between Teacher Judgements, External tests and Pupil Self-assessment. Gothenburg studies in Education No. 328, Göteborg: ACTA. Klassen, R., Tze, V., Betts, S., & Gordon, K. (2011). Teacher Efficacy Research 1998-2009: Signs of Progress or Unfulfilled Promise? Educational Psychology Review, 23(1), 21-43. Klassen, R. and Tze, V. (2014). Teacher’s Self-Efficacy, Personality and Teacher’s Effectiveness: A Meta-Analysis. Educational Research Review, 12, 59-76. Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Ruddock, G.J., O’Sullivan, C.Y., & Preuschof, C. (2009). TIMSS 2011 Assessment Frameworks. Chapter 3. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Myrberg, E. (2007). The Effect of Formal Teacher Education on Reading Achievement of 3rd-Grade Pupils in Public and Independent Schools in Sweden. Educational Studies, 33 (145-162). Nye, B., Konstantopoulos, S., & Hedges, L. V. (2004). How Large Are Teacher Effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26 (237-257). Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk Hoy, A., & Hoy, W.K. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure. Review of Educational Research 68 (202-248). Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher Efficacy: Capturing an Elusive Construct. Teaching and Teacher Education 17 (783-805). Skaalvik, E., Skaalvik., S. (2007). Dimensions of Teacher Self-Efficacy and Relations with Strain Factors, Perceived Collective Teacher Efficacy, and Teacher Burnout. Journal of Educational Psychology 99/3 (611-625). The Swedish National Agency for Education (2012). TIMSS 2011. Svenska Grundskoleelevers Kunskaper i Matematik och Naturvetenskap i Ett Internationellt Perspektiv. Stockholm. Wayne, A. J., & Youngs, P. (2003). Teacher Characteristics and Student Achievement Gains: A Review. Review of Educational Research, 73 (89-122).
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