Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Stacy ` Wahl

Abstract

Teachers need interventions to improve at-risk students' self-efficacy, which may improve their academic performance in school. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions of elementary school teachers at a Texas public middle school as to what research-based interventions they felt would improve the self-efficacy of these students. Bandura's social cognitive theory, which framed the study, indicates that self-efficacy beliefs affect the courses of action that people seek and the choices people make. Many at-risk students who experience a lack of academic success have low self-efficacy, which may affect their school performance. The research questions that guided the study focused on teachers' perceptions of whether a school-based mentoring program, counseling services, or an afterschool program would best help at-risk students improve their self-efficacy. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from 6 teacher participants who were purposely selected from different grade levels at the school. The data were transcribed and analyzed using hand-coding procedures to determine categories and themes from the transcripts. The findings revealed that teachers thought that a school-based mentoring program would have the most positive impact in improving the self-efficacy of at-risk students. The results prompted the development of a training program for mentors. Positive social change may result when at-risk students benefit from mentors who are properly trained on ways to meaningfully impact them.