Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Lou Morton


The local problem that prompted this study was declining student achievement scores in the 4th and 5th grades at a Title 1 elementary school in the southeastern U.S. As a result, school administrators initiated an environmental change from a self-contained classroom structure to departmentalization and team teaching for 4th and 5th grades. The purpose of the study was to investigate perspectives of teachers and administrators regarding their needs to address their own self-efficacy for improving student learning, and their perspectives of the team teaching and departmentalization processes in enhancing student achievement. The conceptual framework for this study was Bandura's theory of self-efficacy. The research design was a qualitative case study using purposeful sampling. Interviews were conducted with 10 participants; 9 teachers who were presently teaching or had taught at the 4th and 5th grade levels for 2-20 years as well as 1 administrator. Participants' responses were coded and analyzed for emerging themes related to teachers' sense of efficacy to improve achievement, and issues with team teaching, departmentalization and student learning. The key findings include teachers' beliefs that, with support from professional development, they could help increase student achievement and then departmentalization would be more successful. A policy paper was constructed as a project to address ongoing, mandated professional development for teachers and administrators in strategies for increasing their efficacy in the use of team teaching and departmentalization structures to improve student learning. Using study findings, upper elementary school administrators and teachers may be able to make effective organizational decisions to improve self-efficacy of teachers to meet the school's increased expectations regarding student learning and achievement.