Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
David A. Hernandez
In the school district under study, students with learning disabilities were
underperforming when compared to students without disabilities. Research has indicated that improved self-efficacy can promote improved student outcomes and that self- efficacy can be taught. Despite this known association, the school district under study has not provided students with such support. The current study addressed ways in which that gap may be attenuated. Guided by the framework of Bandura's theory of self-efficacy and social cognitive theory, the purpose of this study was to explore (a) whether students' perceptions of self-efficacy differed depending on whether or not they had diagnosed learning disabilities and (b) whether learning disability status and gender were predictors of self-efficacy. Bandura's Children's Perceived Self-Efficacy scale was used to examine students' (N = 394) levels of self-efficacy in this causal-comparative study. Data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics (scale reliability analysis, multivariate analysis of variance, and multiple regression). Results indicated that students with learning disabilities had lower levels of perceived self-efficacy, whether measured using the 7 subscales or the 3 overall scales, and that these differences were independent of gender. These results indicate a need for administrators and teachers to implement strategies to improve levels of self-efficacy for students with learning disabilities. Ultimately, improving students' levels of self-efficacy could contribute to improved academic outcomes, thus promoting social change.