Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Mary Howe

Abstract

Teacher self-efficacy (TSE) has been linked to the academic success of students. This association has been found in contexts where teachers have received training relevant to working with the student population being served. In the suburban Pennsylvania school district targeted in this study, there was little district-sponsored professional development (PD) available to general education teachers regarding strategies for teaching students with disabilities in the inclusion setting. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine whether a difference exists in perceived TSE when instructing in the inclusion setting compared with the traditional setting, and whether an association exists linking prior experience and organizational support in the form of PD with TSE. Bandura's social cognitive theory framed this study. A sample of 99 secondary general education teachers completed a 3-part online survey including the TSES and TSES-Learning Disabilities (LD) scales measuring self-efficacy in the traditional and inclusion settings, and demographic questions that served as potential predictors of self-efficacy. Correlated t tests and partial correlations were used to test for differences in perceived TSE across the inclusion and traditional settings and to test whether demographic factors were associated with TSE. Teachers perceived themselves as less efficacious in the inclusion setting when compared to instructing general education students in a traditional classroom, and setting-specific training was the greatest predictor of TSE. An inclusion PD program was created focusing on strategies for teaching students with disabilities in the inclusion setting. This endeavor may advance positive social change by increasing teacher self-efficacy and ultimately student achievement.