Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Miller


Assessment scores indicated students with severe disabilities (SWSD) have not been performing to their maximum potential, which may lead to lower quality of life after graduation. Teacher efficacy has been shown to impact student achievement; thus, this study involved exploring the teacher efficacy of the teachers of SWSD. Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, and Hoy's teacher efficacy conceptual framework guided this nonexperimental correlation study to investigate if levels of self-efficacy, years of overall teaching experience, and years of teaching experience with Grade 3 to 8 SWSD were predictors of student reading achievement in a New York City school district. Two open-ended questions were added to explore challenges teachers of SWSD encounter. Student New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) scores were collected from all classroom teachers of students who participated in the 2014-2015 NYSAA at the study site. A regression analysis indicated no significant relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and the achievement of SWSD in the area of literacy. TSES responses were triangulated using data from 2 open-ended questions, which revealed that teachers face specific challenges when educating students with severe disabilities. At the organizational level, changes to address the needs of teachers could be made to address the challenges found in this study. Positive social change will occur by helping to inform new policies that will reduce challenges indicated by teachers of SWSD and address the needs of teachers to improve the education of SWSD.