Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Billie V. Andersson


With the implementation of more rigorous reading standards nationwide, teachers are feeling less secure about their abilities to teach students to become proficient readers. Utilizing Bandura's theory of self-efficacy as the conceptual framework, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how teachers perceived their self-efficacy to teach complex reading standards to struggling readers. Seven middle school English language arts teachers from 2 schools in a southern school district participated in this study. The research questions addressed teachers' understanding of the recent Common Core literacy standards and perceptions of their own self-efficacy to teach mastery of these standards to struggling readers. Semi-structured interviews with teacher study participants were recorded, transcribed, coded, and then analyzed in search of common themes. Findings showed that teachers perceived themselves to be knowledgeable about the literacy standards but, believed themselves unprepared to teach mastery of the standards to students who read significantly below grade level. Middle school teachers in this study claimed they had received no training that emphasized effective strategies for struggling readers and believed that training in such strategies and more collaboration with colleagues would increase their self-efficacy to enhance reading skills of struggling students. The resulting project created from the findings was a series of professional development sessions for middle school teachers to explain reading strategies that support the reading development of struggling readers. This study could affect positive social change by identifying ways in which middle school teachers may become more empowered to teach struggling readers. When teachers are empowered, their confidence and self-efficacy levels increase, and students benefit from effective instruction.

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