Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Students at a private high school in New Jersey exhibited low academic self-confidence as compared to other indicators on the ACT Engage exam. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain an understanding of academic self-confidence, academic performance, and learning within a sample of students. This research explored students' and teachers' perceptions of self-confidence and their impact on academic performance. The research was guided by Weiner's attribution and Bandura's self-efficacy theories. The research questions focused on 3 areas: students' and teachers' perceptions of academic self-confidence as factors impacting students' academic performance; and the perceived relationship between academic self-confidence, academic performance, and learning. Data were collected from a sample of 10 sophomore students and 10 teachers of sophomore students through 2 separate focus groups using a semistructured focus group guide. Using Clarke and Braun's framework for thematic analysis, the data were analyzed. Results revealed 2 student themes: (a) developing confidence and (b) set for success, and 3 themes from the teacher focus group: (a) student academic performance, (b) creating a positive space, and (c) student confidence. Professional development was designed for local application, including strategies to enhance students' academic self-confidence to lead to enhanced academic performance. Implications for social change includes increased student success as they transition to college.