Teachers' beliefs4

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Teachers' beliefs4

  1. 1. 270 British Journal of Educational Psychology (2012), 82, 270–288 C 2011 The British Psychological Society The British Psychological Society www.wileyonlinelibrary.com Teacher beliefs, teacher characteristics, and school contextual factors: What are the relationships? Christine M. Rubie-Davies∗, Annaline Flint and Lyn G. McDonald School of Teaching Learning and Development, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland, New Zealand Background. There is a plethora of research around student beliefs and their contribution to student outcomes. However, there is less research in relation to teacher beliefs. Teacher factors are important to consider since beliefs mould thoughts and resultant instructional behaviours that, in turn, can contribute to student outcomes. Aims. The purpose of this research was to explore relationships between the teacher characteristics of gender and teaching experience, school contextual variables (socio- economic level of school and class level), and three teacher socio-psychological variables: class level teacher expectations, teacher efficacy, and teacher goal orientation. Sample. The participants were 68 male and female teachers with varying experience, from schools in a variety of socio-economic areas and from rural and urban locations within New Zealand. Method. Teachers completed a questionnaire containing items related to teacher efficacy and goal orientation in reading. They also completed a teacher expectation survey. Reading achievement data were collected on students. Interrelationships were explored between teacher socio-psychological beliefs and the teacher and school factors included in the study. Results. Mastery-oriented beliefs predicted teacher efficacy for student engagement and classroom management. The socio-economic level of the school and teacher gender predicted teacher efficacy for engagement, classroom management, instructional strategies, and a mastery goal orientation. Being male predicted a performance goal orientation. Conclusions. Teacher beliefs, teacher characteristics, and school contextual variables can result in differences in teacher instructional practices and differing classroom climates. Further investigation of these variables is important since differences in teachers contribute to differences in student outcomes. The beliefs that teachers hold influence their thoughts and their instructional decisions (Woolfolk Hoy, Hoy, & Davis, 2009). In turn, instructional decisions that teachers make ∗Correspondence should be addressed to Christine Rubie-Davies, School of Teaching Learning and Development, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92601, Auckland 1150, New Zealand (e-mail: c.rubie@auckland.ac.nz). DOI:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2011.02025.x
  2. 2. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 271 influence the learning experiences they plan for students and hence student opportunity to learn. Furthermore, some studies have shown that teachers may make differential instructional decisions depending on their gender and their teaching experience (e.g., Ross, 1998). Finally, it has been suggested that teachers alter their instructional practices depending on school contextual variables such as the socio-economic level of the school (Solomon, Battistich, & Hom, 1996). Because teacher beliefs, characteristics, and contextual factors have all been shown to potentially influence the learning outcomes of students, it is important that relationships between these variables are more fully explored. If some of these beliefs and characteristics are related to each other then this may result in even greater effects on instructional practices and therefore student learning opportunities. For example, if teachers have low teaching efficacy and they are more structured in their approach to teaching students in low socio-economic areas and they lack experience, the combination of these teacher factors may have greater implications for student learning than if, for example, the teacher simply lacks teaching experience. Hence, it is important to study beliefs from a wider perspective, to look for relationships that could be important in terms of student learning. While there is a substantial body of literature related to particular teacher beliefs (e.g., teacher efficacy), these tend to have been studied in isolation. There are fewer studies that have explored various teacher beliefs and characteristics in combination (see Deemer, 2004, as an exception). This study proposes that teacher beliefs are not likely to exist in isolation but that there are particular kinds of beliefs teachers hold that are likely to be related and that these may be moderated by contextual school and personal characteristics. Hence, the purpose of the current study was threefold: first, we explored relationships between teacher efficacy, teachers’ class level expectations, and teacher goal orientation; second, we examined relationships between the social psychological variables teacher efficacy, teachers’ class level expectations, teacher goal orientation, and teacher characteristics (gender and teaching experience); and third, we investigated whether contextual factors (school socio-economic level and class level) could predict any of the teacher social psychological variables being explored. Bandura (1977) first proposed the concept of self-efficacy. Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, and Hoy (1998) applied this concept to teachers and defined teacher efficacy as, ‘the teacher’s belief in his or her capability to organize and execute courses of action required to successfully accomplish a specific teaching task in a particular context’ (p. 233), whereas Wheatley (2002) linked teacher efficacy more directly to a teacher’s belief in his or her ability to influence student outcomes. So, teacher efficacy relates to a context-specific assessment of one’s ability to instruct students in a particular curriculum area or in a particular manner. Hence, teacher efficacy is a ‘future oriented, task-specific judgement’ (Woolfolk Hoy et al., 2009, p. 628). Teacher academic expectations are also future-oriented judgements and may be curriculum specific. Teacher expectations may be defined as the judgements teachers make about the amount of academic progress they believe students will make by the end of a specific time frame (often by the end of a year in empirical studies). When researchers are investigating teacher expectations, these are often also related to a specific curriculum area such as reading (Rubie-Davies, 2007) or mathematics (Schullo & Alperson, 1998). Teacher expectations can be viewed as a dyadic relationship whereby teachers have differing expectations for each individual child in the classroom (often related to characteristics of the child, e.g., ethnicity, social class, gender, ability). This is the traditional view. However, expectations can also be viewed at the whole class level. From this perspective, some teachers have high expectations for all their students
  3. 3. 272 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. (high expectation teachers), while other teachers have low expectations for all students (low expectation teachers). This is not to say, the expectations are equally high (or low) for all students, but rather, controlling for student achievement at the beginning of the year, high expectation teachers expect all students to make substantial academic gains by the end of the year, while low expectation teachers do not anticipate that their students will make many gains (again controlling for prior achievement). Brophy (1985) first suggested that whole class expectations were likely to have more import for student outcomes than expectations at the individual level and, indeed, Brophy and Good (1974) proposed types of teachers whose expectations would be likely to result in students making greater or lesser gains depending on the teacher characteristics, rather than on the student characteristics. Meta-analyses of naturalistic teacher expectation studies whereby expectations for individual students are considered generally yield low effect sizes (r < .20) (Jussim, Robustelli, & Cain, 2009). On the other hand, a study that investigated whole class teacher expectation effects on student achievement in reading found very large effects for high expectation teachers (d = 1.01) but low effects for low expectation teachers (d = .05) (Rubie-Davies, 2010). Hence, it would appear to be of some consequence to consider expectations at the class level, rather than the individual level, an approach taken in the current paper. Teacher goal orientation is a further variable that has been shown to influence the ways in which teachers structure their classrooms, motivate, and interact with students. Two main types of goal orientation, namely mastery and performance, have been identified (Kaplan & Maehr, 2007). Teachers with a performance goal orientation are more focused on formally assessing their students’ ability to achieve. Teachers who have a mastery goal orientation, on the other hand, consider learning to be an active process in which students are totally involved in their learning and focused on acquiring skills, understandings, and insights (Patrick, Anderman, Ryan, Edelin, & Midgley, 2001). From a teacher perspective, then, teacher expectations relate to where the teacher believes the students in her/his class will get to, teacher efficacy relates to what s/he believes s/he can do to get the students there, and teacher goal orientation relates to how s/he believes lessons and assessments should be structured in order for students to reach their goals. Hence, these teacher beliefs (expectations, efficacy, and goal orientation) could be thought of as being interrelated. A teacher, who has high expectations for all students, may have the confidence that s/he can make a large difference to their learning (teacher efficacy) and use a mastery approach to teaching, since this approach appears to result in larger student gains (Roeser, Marachi, & Gehlbach, 2002). The interrelatedness of these teacher beliefs is one aspect examined in this paper. While the instructional practices of teachers were not examined in the current study, it is the ways in which particular teacher beliefs can influence teacher instruction that make the beliefs important to consider since the resultant practices can lead to differential outcomes for students. Hence, the next section of the paper will briefly summarize the research findings related to the influence of teacher beliefs on teacher instructional practices in literacy (since this is the curriculum focus of the current paper). In a study by Graham, Harris, Fink, and MacArthur (2001), it was found that there was a direct link between variables in efficacy scores and teachers’ beliefs about how to teach writing. The researchers posited that teacher efficacy was linked to their beliefs about how to teach the subject and was an important element in understand- ing effective instruction in writing. Similarly, research by Chacon (2005) revealed a positive correlation between teachers’ sense of efficacy and language proficiency. The way teachers perceived their capabilities to teach seemed to directly influence their
  4. 4. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 273 instructional practices. Teachers who felt confident about their abilities and who enjoyed teaching seemed to willingly implement new and innovative practices. Furthermore, the judgements teachers made about the tasks used to effect student learning were influenced by their perceived efficacy. Results from the study also showed that teachers’ efficacy for instructional strategies was higher than efficacy for management and engagement. Within the teacher expectation literature, Rubie-Davies (2008a) found that the beliefs of high and low expectation teachers were quite different. High expectation teachers believed that students should work in mixed and flexible ability groupings for reading, be given choices about the activities they completed, be exposed to challenging learning experiences, and have clear learning goals. On the other hand, low expectation teachers believed that students learnt best in reading when they were grouped by ability and when the teacher planned quite distinct activities for high and low ability students. The low expectation teachers believed they should make the decisions about what students should learn, how, and with whom. These contrasting beliefs resulted in very different instructional environments for students (Rubie-Davies, 2007). Within the goal orientation literature, as well, associations have been found between teachers’ beliefs and the observed practices of teachers. In one study by Anderman and colleagues (Anderman, Patrick, Hruda, & Linnenbrink, 2002), teachers with low mastery beliefs were found to consider learning to be an individual process, best achieved by listening to the teacher, and following instructions. Student interaction was not considered helpful for learning and students were not encouraged to collaborate or share answers. Students received recognition if they followed procedures and obeyed the teacher rather than through achieving success on tasks. In contrast, teachers high in mastery beliefs focused on understanding and improvement because mistakes were considered informative for learning. Conversations with students were supportive, constructive, and focused on the next steps in learning. Students were encouraged to actively participate in class and to work together. Students received feedback in relation to the task rather than in relation to procedures. Thus, it can be seen that teacher beliefs appear to influence teacher practice. The research cited above indicates that teachers alter their instructional practices in line with their beliefs but particular characteristics of teachers also appear to be associated with distinct beliefs. For example, gender and teaching experience have been associated with differential teacher beliefs. In a study by Ross (1998), it was found that the more teaching experience the teacher had, the greater his or her teacher efficacy tended to be. Similar studies in other parts of the world, in Singapore, (Wilson & Tan, 2004), in Spain (de la Torre Cruz & Arias, 2007), and in Hong Kong (Cheung, 2008), have all shown that higher levels of teacher efficacy may well be attributed to teaching experience (Yeo, Ang, Chong, Huan, & Quek, 2008). Similarly, one study suggested that high expectation teachers tended to have more teaching experience than did teachers with lower expectations (Rubie-Davies, 2006). However, whether goal orientation is related to teaching experience does not appear to have been examined in the literature. Ross (1998) also found that teacher efficacy was higher in females than in males, although more recent studies have reported no differences in teacher efficacy by gender (Tejeda-Delgado, 2009; Yeo et al., 2008). We were unable to locate any studies, however, that had examined gender in relation to teacher expectations or goal orientation. The school context has also been shown to influence teachers’ beliefs (e.g., Solomon et al., 1996). For example, the socio-economic status of the school and the year level
  5. 5. 274 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. of the classes teachers work in have been shown to relate to specific teacher beliefs and practices. Ross (1998) found that teachers in the elementary sector consistently had higher teacher efficacy than their high school counterparts. Furthermore, Solomon et al. (1996) found that, controlling for achievement, teachers working in low socio- economic schools had lower expectations for their students than teachers working in middle-class schools. Another study showed that teachers in the earlier years of primary school appeared to have higher expectations of their students than did teachers of older primary school students (Rubie-Davies, 2006). Finally, in a study conducted by Deemer (2004) in secondary classrooms, it was found that the instructional practices of teachers were strongly determined by the culture of the school, as were students’ mastery goals. A perceived supportive school culture allowed teachers to focus their instructional practices, and for students to focus their goals, on mastery learning. In schools with a perceived competitive culture, teachers’ instructional practices in the classroom were focused on demonstrating ability and thus students’ goals were more performance oriented. Furthermore, it was found that teachers who were confident in their teaching abilities, and thus had high levels of personal efficacy, created classroom environments focused on mastery practices and student learning. However, the same link was not found between teachers’ personal efficacy and performance practices. The current study was conducted in New Zealand primary schools and hence, it may be useful for the reader to understand contextual variables that are of relevance to the paper, since it is likely that some of these could potentially confound the results. One that is of relevance to the current paper is the socio-economic level of the school. In some countries (e.g., the United States), there is status associated with teaching in middle-class schools rather than in poorer communities (McCaslin & Good, 2008). This is not the case in New Zealand. Teacher salaries are controlled by a central government body, and while it is true that it can be more difficult to recruit teachers to low socio-economic areas, the Ministry of Education have at times provided financial incentives for teachers to work in low socio-economic schools. Furthermore, schools in low socio-economic areas are funded at a higher rate by the government than schools in high socio-economic areas meaning that all schools are well resourced. This results in many experienced and high- quality teachers (particularly those with more teaching experience) choosing to teach in low socio-economic areas where they believe they can make a difference for their students. Rubie-Davies (2006) has shown that more teachers with high expectations for all students can be found in low socio-economic than in middle-class schools in New Zealand (and the converse) and the students of such teachers make large academic gains over 1 year. The gender balance and years of teaching experience of participants in the current study also reflects the New Zealand primary school context. There is a gender imbalance in primary schools in New Zealand with around 20% of teachers being male (Harker & Chapman, 2006). The age of teachers in primary schools is also increasing (age is used here as a proxy for teaching experience) with only 51% being aged less than 45 (Harker & Chapman, 2006). In the current study, the authors investigated relationships between teacher efficacy, class level expectations, and teacher goal orientation. Relationships between those social psychological variables, teacher characteristics (e.g., gender, teaching experience), and school contextual factors (socio-economic level of the school and year level of class being taught) were also explored. Based on the research evidence presented above and the New Zealand context, it was predicted that a relationship would be found between:
  6. 6. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 275 (1) teacher efficacy, class level expectation, and a mastery goal orientation; (2) gender and the three beliefs variables of interest in the study; (3) teaching experience and the three teacher beliefs variables being investigated; (4) class level being taught and the three teacher beliefs variables included in the current study; (5) the socio-economic level of the school and the three teacher beliefs variables (although this relationship was expected to be in a negative direction). Method Participants The participants in this study were 68 New Zealand teachers from 18 schools randomly selected from across the country to be part of the study. Some schools initially invited to participate were not eligible to be part of the study. Of the original 50 schools, 20 had three or fewer teachers at Year 4–8. Because year level being taught was a variable of interest, only teachers teaching no more than two consecutive year levels were eligible. (A large number of New Zealand schools are small rural schools.) However, despite excluding these schools, the urban/rural proportions were still representative of the New Zealand proportions. In this study, six schools were rural and 12 were urban; in New Zealand, one third of schools are rural (Brooking, 2007). Only schools using Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle) were eligible to be part of the study (asTTle is a standardized measure of achievement used in New Zealand and is described below), since asTTle was used in the study as the student achievement measure; five schools were not using asTTle. Finally, of the original group of schools, seven decided not to participate. Of the 68 teachers who agreed to be part of the study, 52 were in primary schools, teaching Years 4–6 students (approximately 8–10 years of age) and 16 were in intermediate schools (approximately 11–12 years of age). In New Zealand, schools are given a decile ranking ranging from 1 to 10 that is an indicator of socio-economic level, with ‘1’ being schools in the poorer areas and ‘10’ being those in wealthier areas. In this particular sample, more teachers were from high-decile schools (6–10) (n = 46) than from low-decile schools (1–5) (n = 22), so teachers in middle-class schools were over-represented. The imbalance of female to male teachers in New Zealand primary and intermediate schools was reflected in the participants: 57 were female while 11 were male. Teaching experience ranged from 1 to 47 years with a mean of 12.59 years and a standard deviation (SD) of 10.24 years showing a wide dispersion. However, most teachers had 10 years or less experience (39 teachers) and hence, there was an over- representation of less experienced teachers in this sample compared to the general primary school teaching population in New Zealand. Procedure and design Teachers were invited to become part of the study in February (beginning of the academic year in New Zealand) and those who agreed were sent questionnaires at the beginning of March. Teachers were sent a questionnaire to complete and return to the researchers. This questionnaire was comprised of items designed to measure personal teacher efficacy beliefs and teachers’ mastery and performance goal orientation. Schools supplied standardized reading achievement data for each student in the classes of participating teachers. Teachers also completed a survey in which they indicated how
  7. 7. 276 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. much progress they predicted each student in their classes would make in reading across the year. This survey was used to indicate teacher expectations for their students. The curriculum focus for the questionnaires, the expectation survey, and the achievement data related to reading. All student data were anonymized by teachers who provided a code for every student on the survey they completed along with a matched code for the student reading achievement data. Data were available for 1,739 students. Measures Three measures were used in this study: the teacher beliefs questionnaire (comprised of teacher efficacy and teacher goal orientation items), the teacher expectation survey, and the measure of student achievement. These measures will be described below. Teacher efficacy The teacher beliefs questionnaire used in the current study was the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the two subscales from the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS) (Midgley et al., 2000) designed to measure mastery and performance approaches to instruction. The TSES was used to measure teachers’ personal teaching efficacy in reading. It includes items that describe tasks in which teachers commonly engage (Woolfolk Hoy et al., 2009). The long 24-item form was used to measure teacher efficacy in engagement of students, efficacy in instructional strategies, and efficacy in classroom management. An example of items from each of these three subscales, respectively, is ‘How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students?’, ‘How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students?’, and ‘How much can you do to control disruptive behaviour in the classroom?’. Some items were altered so that the stem for each item became ‘How much can you do to . . . ?’. For example, ‘To what extent can you make your expectations clear about student behaviour?’ became ‘How much can you do to make your expectations clear about student behaviour?’. Teachers rated their perceived self-efficacy on a 9-point Likert scale from 1 = ‘Nothing’ to 9 = ‘A Great Deal’. Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) reported an overall alpha coefficient for the TSES of .94, of .87 for the student engagement subscale, of .91 for instructional strategies, and .90 for classroom management. In the current study, the overall alpha coefficient for the TSES was .93, .85 for the student engagement subscale, .86 for the instructional strategies subscale, and .85 for the classroom management subscale. Teacher goal orientation Teachers’ goal orientation was measured using the mastery approaches to instruction and the performance approaches to instruction subscales of the PALS (Midgley et al., 2000). The two subscales are designed to measure teachers’ goal-oriented approaches to teaching and have been used successfully in the United States with teachers at the primary, middle, and secondary school levels (Midgley et al., 2000). In the original scale, teachers rate statements about their mastery and performance goal orientation on a 5-point Likert scale but in the current administration a 9-point Likert scale was used ranging from 1 = ‘Never’ to 9 = ‘All the time’ so that the PALS subscales were on the same Likert scale as the TSES. An example of a mastery goal item is ‘To what extent do you provide several different activities so that students can choose among them?’ and of a performance goal orientation: ‘To what extent do you display the work of the highest achieving students as an example?’ Midgley et al. (2000) report an alpha
  8. 8. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 277 coefficient of .69 for each scale. However, in the current study, the alpha coefficient for the mastery goal orientation was .57 and for the performance goal orientation .75. It should be pointed out that alterations were made to wording for some items in the mastery goal orientation scale to meet New Zealand conditions. For example, ‘I consider how much students have improved when I give them report card grades’ was changed to: ‘To what extent do you consider how much students have improved when you are writing their reports?’ Changes such as this were made since it is very uncommon for schools in New Zealand to assign students achievement grades in primary school since at present there is no required compulsory standardized testing in the country. It may be that the combination of using a 1–9 Likert scale and small wording changes resulted in the low alpha coefficient for the mastery performance orientation scale. Furthermore, researchers in the field have begun to question the reliability of the PALS measure (L.H. Anderman, personal communication, May 3, 2010), but it is currently the only widely used measure available designed to test teachers’ mastery goal orientation. Furthermore, an examination of the item-total correlations showed that all items correlated well with the total scale (range r = .41 − r = .75) and hence, despite its limitations, the measure was still used in the current study. Overall, all teacher beliefs variables were normally distributed. The skewness value for the mastery goal orientation scale was −.74, while the values for the other scales ranged from −.29 (performance goal orientation) to .16 (the total TSES scale). The kurtosis value for the mastery goal orientation scale was .78, while all other distributions had slight negative kurtosis ranging from −.68 (instructional strategies) to −.31 (performance goal orientation), indicating a slightly flatter than normal distribution. Thus, the scores for all variables represented a reasonable approximation to the normal curve. The teacher beliefs questionnaire was piloted with a small group of teachers (seven) not otherwise engaged in the study in order to determine readability and for teachers to provide feedback on the measure. No difficulties were reported. asTTle reading comprehension The asTTle resource is an assessment tool developed and used in New Zealand to assess students’ reading comprehension, mathematics, and writing. There is an English and te reo M¯aori (New Zealand indigenous language) version for the three curriculum areas. It can be used with students from Year 4–12 to track the progress and achievement of both individual students and groups of students against national norms. Using asTTle, teachers can create 40-min paper and pencil or on-line tests that they are able to design for their particular students’ learning needs. Once the tests have been scored, the asTTle tool produces graphic reports that allow teachers to analyse student achievement against curriculum levels, curriculum objectives, and population norms (Ministry of Education, 2010) (For more information regarding asTTle go to www.asttle.com). For the purposes of the current study, data for each student from a reading comprehension test were used. The asTTle scores range from 100 to 1,500 across the year levels so student progress can be tracked from Year 4 to 12. The student reports give teachers a score for each student and also an equivalent curriculum level. An average student in New Zealand will complete one curriculum level in any curriculum area every 2 years and asTTle further divides each curriculum level into three (basic, proficient, advanced) sublevels as an indication of how much of each level a student has completed.
  9. 9. 278 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. Teacher expectation survey In order to gain a measure of teachers’ expectations, the teachers first made a class list of students and estimated the asTTle level each student would reach by the end of the year. The expectations for achievement were then compared with actual beginning of year asTTle levels to determine expected progress over 1 year. Hence, the scale provided a measure of each teacher’s expectation for student progress. A difference measure was calculated to indicate overall teachers’ expectations for students in their respective classes. First, the differences between beginning of year reading levels and teacher expectations for end of year achievement were calculated for each student. The total of these differences was calculated for each class and a mean difference figure calculated for each teacher. The scores were collapsed in order to provide a measure of the teachers’ overall expectations for the class. Clearly expectations for individuals will vary but asking teachers to predict student progress (rather than achievement) has been shown in previous studies (Rubie-Davies, 2007) to indicate teacher expectation beliefs, that is, teachers who predict large gains for their students do so for all students in the class (high expectation teachers) relative to beginning year achievement, while the opposite has been found for low expectation teachers. The mean difference figure provided an indication of the teachers’ expectations for their whole class, that is, larger means indicated greater expectations of progress for all students. The mean difference scores ranged from −.23 to 2.5 meaning the teacher whose mean difference score was lowest was not expecting his/her students to make any overall gains in achievement during the year (and arguably some decrease in achievement), while the one whose mean difference score was greatest was expecting his/her students to increase on average 2.5 levels within asTTle across the year. This is a very high expectation as it indicates progress of almost an entire curriculum level. The mean difference score for teachers was 1.22 levels of progress for the year (SD = 0.49). Results Because the sample size was small, power statistics were computed to determine the minimum correlation coefficient that is significant for a sample size of 68. The minimum r significant at a p value of .05 was 0.24; for a p value of .01, the minimum r was .31; and for a significance value of .001, the minimum correlation coefficient was .39. Table 1 presents the means and SDs for the measures as well as the correlations between measures, teacher characteristics, and school context variables. The means for Table 1. Means and standard deviations for teacher beliefs variables and correlations between teacher belief and school context and teacher characteristics variables Socio-economic Class Teaching Variable M SD level level Gender experience Teacher expectation 1.22 0.49 −0.11 −0.17 −0.01 0.06 Instructional strategies 7.67 0.69 −0.37∗∗∗ −0.06 0.42∗∗∗ 0.02 Classroom management 7.80 0.69 −0.35∗∗ −0.23∗ 0.30∗∗ 0.11 Student engagement 7.11 0.84 −0.33∗∗ −0.21∗ 0.36∗∗ −0.006 Performance goals 5.07 1.35 −0.01 −0.10 −0.23∗ 0.04 Mastery goals 7.56 0.72 −0.28∗∗ −0.13 0.31∗∗ 0.04 Note: ∗ p Ͻ .05; ∗∗ p Ͻ .01; ∗∗∗ p Ͻ .001.
  10. 10. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 279 the subscales of the TSES in the current study are similar to those reported in the original reliability and validity testing (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) for student engagement (M = 7.3, SD = 1.1 in the original sample) and for instructional strategies (M = 7.3, SD = 1.1 in the original sample). However, the mean for efficacy in classroom management appears higher than that from the original sample (M = 6.7, SD = 1.1 in the original sample). The SDs reflect a range of teacher beliefs among the sample. The means for the PALS scale are not directly comparable since the measure employs a 1–5 scale usually and a 1–9 scale was used in the current study. However, while the mean for performance goal orientation appears similar to that presented by the authors of PALS (Midgley et al., 2000) in that both means are close to the mid-point (M = 2.21, SD = .85 in the original sample), the mean indicating a mastery goal orientation appears to be greater in the current study (M = 3.44, SD = .76 in the original sample) but again the SDs indicate a dispersion of views. Correlations between the two school context variables included in this study (socio- economic level and class level) and the teacher beliefs variables are also shown in Table 1. As can be seen, the statistically significant correlations between teaching efficacy in instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement and socio- economic level of the school and between a mastery goal orientation and socio-economic level of the school are negative, indicating that teachers in low socio-economic schools had higher teaching efficacy and were more likely to have a mastery goal orientation than were teachers in high socio-economic areas (and the converse). The reader is reminded of the atypical situation in New Zealand, whereby there is a strong commitment to ensuring equitable access to educational resources for all students and a professional ethos among teachers that means that teaching in low socio-economic areas is valued. The statistically significant correlations between class level taught and the various teacher beliefs were also negative, indicating that teachers with younger students had greater teacher efficacy for classroom management and student engagement than did teachers with older students (and vice versa). No statistically significant relationships were found between level of expectation for the class and either of the school context variables. Gender of teacher was also significantly related to the three teacher efficacy subscales. In all cases, the positive correlations indicate that female teachers had higher teaching efficacy for each subscale than males. Goal orientation provides a different picture. The statistically significant negative correlation for performance goals indicates that male teachers were more performance orientated than females. In contrast, the statistically significant correlation for mastery goal orientation indicates that female teachers were more mastery orientated than males. However, it must be remembered that the small numbers of male participants in the current study does limit the generalizability of the results. No statistically significant correlations were found between teaching experience and any of the teacher beliefs variables. Furthermore, there were no statistically significant relationships between class level teacher expectation and gender. Relationships between types of teacher beliefs To determine if there was any relationship between teacher expectations, teacher efficacy, and teacher goal orientation, a series of simultaneous linear regressions were calculated in which the teacher beliefs were entered to predict teacher expectations, teacher efficacy (efficacy for instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement), and goal orientation (performance and mastery), in turn. The first
  11. 11. 280 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. simultaneous regression included teacher efficacy in reading for instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement predicting a mastery goal orientation. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .29 (F(3, 64) = 10.21, p < .001) that is a moderate effect size according to Cohen (1988) (r = .32). This indicates that 29% of the variance in mastery goal orientation was explained by the model. Both efficacy for student engagement (␤ = .71, p < .001) and classroom management (␤ = −.41, p < .01) were significant predictors of a mastery goal orientation (see Table 2). However, the negative beta weight for classroom management suggests that the more efficacious teachers were about their classroom management strategies, the less likely they were to be mastery oriented. The second simultaneous regression included teacher efficacy in reading for in- structional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement predicting a performance goal orientation. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .02 (F(3, 64) = 1.47, p > .05), a small effect size (r = .06). This means that only 2% of the variance in performance goal orientation could be explained by the model. Efficacy for instructional strategies marginally predicted a performance orientation but in a negative direction (␤ = −.34, p = .07) meaning that there was a trend for teachers who were more performance oriented to be less efficacious about their instructional strategies (and vice versa). Efficacy for classroom management and student engagement did not predict a performance goal orientation (see Table 2). The third in this series of simultaneous regressions included teacher efficacy in reading for instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement predicting class level teacher expectations. No statistically significant relationships were found (see Table 2). Similarly, having a mastery (␤ = .04, p = .75) or a performance goal orientation (␤ = .05, p = .70) did not predict teacher expectation. School context and teacher characteristics variables predicting teacher beliefs Following the preliminary calculation of correlations presented in Table 1, a series of simultaneous regressions were calculated to further explore whether school context variables (school socio-economic level and class level), and teacher characteristics (gender and teaching experience) predicted teacher beliefs (teacher efficacy in reading for student engagement, instructional strategies and classroom management and teacher mastery and performance goal orientation) (see Table 3). Because there were no Table 2. Simultaneous multiple regression analysis summary for teacher efficacy in student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management predicting teacher goal orientation and class expectation Predicting mastery Predicting performance Predicting teacher class goal orientation goal orientation level expectation Teacher efficacy B SEB ␤ B SEB ␤ B SEB ␤ Engagement 0.61 0.14 .71∗∗∗ 0.23 0.31 .14 −0.01 0.11 −.02 Instruction 0.13 0.16 .13 −0.66 0.36 −.34† 0.08 0.13 .11 Management −0.43 0.16 −.41∗∗ 0.02 0.36 .01 0.13 0.13 .19 Constant 5.58 0.92 8.38 2.03 −0.33 0.74 † p Ͻ .10; ∗ p Ͻ .05; ∗∗ p Ͻ .01; ∗∗∗ p Ͻ .001.
  12. 12. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 281 Table3.Simultaneousmultipleregressionanalysissummaryforschoolcontextandteachercharacteristicspredictingteacherbeliefs PredictingTeacherEfficacyPredictinggoalorientation StudentengagementInstructionalstrategiesClassroommanagementMasteryPerformance VariableBSEB␤BSEB␤BSEB␤BSEB␤BSEB␤ Socio-economiclevel−0.100.04−.31∗∗ −0.100.03−.41∗∗∗ 0.090.03−.34∗∗ −0.080.03−.28∗ 0.0090.06.02 Classlevel−0.030.03−.100.020.02.09−0.030.02−.13−0.0070.03−.03−0.050.05−.13 Gender0.800.25.35∗∗ 0.800.19.43∗∗∗ 0.560.20.30∗∗ 0.610.22.32∗∗ −0.880.45−.24† Teachingexperience0.0060.009.080.0070.007.110.010.007.20† 0.0080.008.110.0040.02.03 Constant7.270.377.650.298.000.317.590.335.940.67 Note:† pϽ.10;∗ pϽ.05;∗∗ pϽ.01;∗∗∗ pϽ.001.
  13. 13. 282 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. relationships between teacher expectation and either the school context or teacher characteristics variables, a simultaneous regression was not performed to predict teacher expectation. The first simultaneous regression included school socio-economic level (1–10), class level, gender, and teaching experience (in years) predicting efficacy in student engagement. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .25 (F(4, 63) = 5.19, p < .001), which was a large effect size (r = .50). This means that 25% of the variance in efficacy for student engagement could be explained by the model. Both school socio-economic level (␤ = −.31, p < .009) and gender (␤ = .35, p < .002) predicted efficacy in student engagement. The negative beta weight for school socio-economic level indicates that the lower the socio-economic level of the school the more likely were teachers to feel efficacious about student engagement (and vice versa). Furthermore, being female predicted efficacy in student engagement (see Table 3) (Male: M = 6.44, SD = 0.60; Female: M = 7.24, SD = 0.82). But, again, it must be remembered that the number of male participants was small. The second simultaneous regression included school socio-economic level, class level, gender, and teaching experience predicting efficacy in instructional strategies. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .29 (F(4, 63) = 7.67, p < .001), which was a large effect size (r = .57). This means that 29% of the variance in efficacy for instructional strategies could be explained by the model. Both school socio-economic level (␤ = −.41, p < .001) and gender (␤ = .43, p < .001) predicted efficacy in instructional strategies. The negative beta weight for school socio-economic level indicates that the higher the socio-economic level of the school the less likely were teachers to feel efficacious about instructional strategies (and vice versa). Furthermore, being female predicted efficacy in instructional strategies more so than being male (see Table 3). (Male: M = 7.02, SD = 0.54; Female: M = 7.34, SD = 0.66). The third simultaneous regression included school socio-economic level, class level, gender, and teaching experience predicting efficacy in classroom management. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .26 (F(4, 63) = 5.61, p < .001), which was a large effect size (r = .51). This means that 26% of the variance in efficacy for classroom management could be explained by the model. School socio-economic level (␤ = −.41, p < .001) and gender (␤ = .43, p < .001) predicted efficacy in classroom management. Furthermore, years of teaching experience marginally predicted efficacy in classroom management (␤ = .20, p < .08). The negative beta weight for school socio-economic level indicates that the higher the socio-economic level of the school the less likely were teachers to feel efficacious about classroom management (and the converse). Furthermore, being female predicted efficacy in classroom management more so than being male (Male: M = 7.34, SD = 0.66; Female: M = 7.89, SD = 0.67) and there was a trend for more teaching experience to be associated with more efficacy towards classroom management (see Table 3). The fourth simultaneous regression in the series included school socio-economic level, class level, gender, and teaching experience predicting a mastery goal orientation. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .13 (F(4, 63) = 3.57, p < .01), which was a medium effect size (r = .43). This means that 13% of the variance in mastery goal orientation could be explained by the model. School socio-economic level (␤ = −.28, p = .02) and gender (␤ = .32, p = .008) predicted a mastery goal orientation. Hence, being female predicted a mastery goal orientation more so than being male (Male: M = 7.05, SD = 0.62; Female: M = 7.65, SD = 0.70) and again the negative beta weight for school socio- economic level suggests that the higher the socio-economic level of the school the less likely were teachers to have a mastery goal orientation and vice versa (see Table 3).
  14. 14. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 283 The final simultaneous regression included school socio-economic level, class level, gender, and teaching experience predicting a performance goal orientation. This resulted in an adjusted R2 of .07 (F(4, 63) = 1.18, p = .33). Only gender marginally predicted a performance goal orientation (␤ = −.24, p = .05), the negative beta indicating a trend for being male to predict a performance goal orientation (see Table 3) (Male: M = 5.78, SD = 0.71; Female: M = 4.93, SD = 1.40). Discussion There is a paucity of research that explores the interrelatedness of teacher beliefs’ variables. It seems unlikely, for example, that teachers with beliefs about their efficacy for teaching will not also have beliefs about how their instruction should be delivered, and so, it seems opportune to explore types of teacher beliefs as potential moderators of the instruction ultimately delivered to students. In combination, specific instructional beliefs can impact on the instructional decisions that teachers make and therefore on student opportunity to learn. Furthermore, it seems possible that particular combinations of beliefs could lead to greater or lesser effects on the ways in which teachers structure their classrooms and teach lessons. There are already several studies showing that certain beliefs can lead to greater or lesser effects on student outcomes (e.g., Chacon, 2005; McKown & Weinstein, 2008). Since teacher expectations may be considered to relate to where teachers believe their students will get to, teacher efficacy to what teachers believe they can do to get students there, and goal orientation to how they believe lessons should be structured, it was predicted that a relationship would be found between these types of teacher beliefs. Indeed, a relationship was found between teacher efficacy and teacher goal orienta- tion (as in the study by Deemer, 2004) and the effect size was moderate. Higher teacher efficacy for engagement of students predicted a mastery goal orientation. Conversely, however, there was a negative relationship between efficacy for class management and a mastery goal orientation. This means that teachers high on efficacy for class management were less likely to have mastery goal beliefs and those low on class management efficacy were more likely to have mastery goal beliefs. It may be that teachers who have strong beliefs in their ability to manage students’ disruptive behaviour have a more planned approach to management that they are confident works but which on the other hand allows teachers to feel able to engage students and provide a range of instructional strategies with them. On the other hand, Woolfolk, Rosoff, and Hoy (1990) suggest that less experienced teachers take a more structured approach to management, and the sample in this study was less experienced than the general teaching population in New Zealand. So, this may be another explanation for the inverse relationship found between efficacy in class management and a mastery goal orientation. Interestingly, though, the means in the current study for efficacy in class management were higher than those in the sample on which reliability figures were based, meaning that overall teachers in this study were confident in their ability to manage disruptive students. Although the effect size was small, teacher efficacy for instructional strategies negatively predicted a performance goal orientation, so teachers who were confident in their abilities to cater for student needs were less likely to adhere to performance goals. Conversely, teachers who were less confident that they could cater for student needs were more likely to be performance oriented. This may be expected since teachers who are high in efficacy for meeting the instructional needs of their students report using a variety of pedagogical approaches such as experimenting with instructional methods to
  15. 15. 284 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. better cater for student needs and using inquiry learning and small group approaches to teaching (Chacon, 2005; Cousins & Walker, 2000). These approaches do not align well with the practices of high performance-oriented teachers who have been found to adopt a strong focus on individual test performance and formal assessments and to use more class-based approaches to teaching (Anderman et al., 2002). No relationship was found between teacher class level expectation and teacher efficacy factors or goal orientation. This was an unexpected finding since the beliefs and practices of high expectation teachers (e.g., using flexible grouping, providing students with choice and autonomy in their learning, managing student behaviour positively, and using effective teaching practices) (Rubie-Davies, 2007, 2008a) seem to align with high teacher confidence in teachers’ ability to engage students, manage their behaviour and use a variety of instructional strategies (teacher efficacy) (Woolfolk Hoy et al., 2009), and with a mastery approach to teaching (Anderman et al., 2002). However, to our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the interrelatedness of these social psychological variables and hence is an area that warrants further investigation. Relationships between teacher characteristics (gender and teaching experience) and school context variables (class level taught and socio-economic level of the school) and teacher beliefs (teacher efficacy, goal orientation and class level expectations) were also explored in this study. Gender (being female) predicted teacher efficacy in all three areas (instructional strategies, student engagement, and classroom management), and the effect size was large, although it must be remembered that in the current study numbers of males was small. Other studies of teacher efficacy have reported a similar finding, however (Lee, Buck, & Midgley, 1992; Ross, 1998). One suggestion could be that teaching (particularly in the primary school levels) is considered by some to be a predominantly female occupation and that as a result of this, female teachers may reflect more closely the dominant ideology of the school they teach in (Kalaian & Freeman, 1994) and hence may be more comfortable and efficacious in a female environment. There was a trend for teachers with more teaching experience to have higher efficacy for classroom management. A finding of a relationship between overall teaching efficacy and teaching experience has been reported in other studies (de la Torre Cruz & Arias, 2007; Ross, 1998). However, some studies have found no relationship (Plourde, 2002). When efficacy for class management is examined rather than overall efficacy, it may be expected that a relationship would be found since it is would seem reasonable that teachers with more teaching experience would have more confidence in their ability to manage their students. Those who were unable to manage students would possibly leave the profession. Indeed, the ability to manage student behaviour is often reported by teachers early in their careers as their greatest concern (Veenman, 1984). The socio-economic level of the school in which teachers was located negatively predicted efficacy in all three areas (student engagement, instructional strategies, and class management) and the effect size was large. This is contrary to existing research that suggests that teachers in low socio-economic areas have lower efficacy than those in middle-class schools (Bandura, 1993). The result in the current study is thought to relate to the New Zealand context where, as explained above, many highly experienced teachers choose to teach in low socio-economic areas. Schools in such areas are well resourced and there is no status (or lack of it) attached to teaching in poorer communities; instead, the reverse may be found were it to be investigated. Conversely, teachers in high socio-economic areas are often under considerable pressure from parents to ensure successful outcomes for their children and this may affect teachers’ beliefs about their efficacy. Evidence has also been found in New Zealand of more high expectation teachers
  16. 16. Teacher efficacy, expectations, and goal orientation 285 being found in low socio-economic schools and the opposite (Rubie-Davies, 2006). Hence, it is acknowledged that the findings in the current study related to teacher efficacy, and socio-economic level of the school may not be generalizable to other geographic locations. Relationships between school contextual variables and teacher factors were also examined in relation to goal orientation. A similar trend to that reported above was found in that, again, being female predicted a mastery goal orientation and there was a negative relationship between the socio-economic level of the school and a mastery goal orientation. The effect size in this case was moderate. On the other hand, being male predicted having a performance goal orientation, although the effect size was small. No studies were located that had examined gender or socio-economic levels in relation to goal orientation and hence, this study provides a basis on which the evidence into such relationships can be extended in future studies. Based on the literature related to teacher efficacy, it would be predicted that the finding of females having mastery and males having performance goal orientation would be confirmed. Male students have been shown to be more performance oriented and females more mastery (Anderman & Midgley, 1997). The finding of no relationship between level of teacher expectation and either the school context variables or the teacher factors is interesting in itself. Previous research has suggested that teachers in junior classes perhaps have higher expectations for their students than those in higher levels of schooling (Rubie-Davies, 2006) but this was not found in the current study. However, the study of Rubie Davies had a much smaller sample size and so that may have influenced the results. But in other work by Rubie- Davies (2007, 2008b), no relationship was shown between school socio-economic level and teachers’ expectations, a finding confirmed in the current study. Again, this is contradictory to the US evidence that suggests teachers have lower expectations for students in low socio-economic areas (see, e.g., Gill & Reynolds, 1999; McCarty, Abbott- Shim, & Lambert, 2001; Solomon et al., 1996; Talbert, 1990). Some limitations to the current study need noting. Firstly, the sample of teachers involved in the study was quite small and especially the numbers of male teachers. A consequence of the small number of participants was that this precluded more powerful analyses such as structural equation modelling. Secondly, the sample was not truly representative in that more teachers from high socio-economic areas participated and the proportion of teachers with less experience was greater than the national average. Thirdly, the criteria set by the authors for schools to be included in the study, meant that quite a large proportion then became ineligible to participate. Fourthly, despite the low alpha level found for the mastery goal orientation subscale, it was still used in the current study mainly because it was the only measure that could be located that tests teachers’ mastery goal orientation. A final limitation in the current study was that because the small numbers precluded path modelling, the relationships of the teacher beliefs variables were examined separately as both a cause and an effect rather than simultaneously. It is acknowledged that these various limitations may have influenced the results and limit generalizability. Nevertheless, several interesting findings pave the way for future research to further explore teacher psychosocial variables and their relationships with other school and teacher factors. Because of the acknowledged influence of teacher beliefs on teacher practice, a future study could incorporate larger numbers of teachers to further examine the interrelationship between teacher beliefs, particularly those investigated in the current study since as argued above they can theoretically be considered to relate.
  17. 17. 286 Christine M. Rubie-Davies et al. Such research could then also examine the collection of teacher beliefs that were most beneficial in terms of student outcomes and learning. This could result in a teacher beliefs profile similar to the teacher instructional profiles proffered to align with effective teaching. Instructional practices do not just happen. They are predicated on beliefs and hence further exploration in this area could result in understandings about teachers of which we are not currently cognisant. Such studies could lead to a theoretical understanding of the combinations of teacher beliefs that are important for student outcomes. Overall, this preliminary study has uncovered some important and interesting relationships between various teacher and school variables and between some teacher psychosocial variables. Constructs such as teacher efficacy, teacher class level expectations, and teacher goal orientation all recognize the individuality of teachers and point to a need to consider teacher difference when exploring student learning outcomes and social development. It may be argued that at times student outcomes vary because teachers vary in their instructional practices, in their beliefs, in their expectations, in their efficacy for teaching, in their goal orientation, and in the ways in which they construct the socio-emotional climate of the classroom, rather than that student outcomes always vary because students differ. While the authors are not proclaiming that all students are the same, they are arguing that not all teachers are the same. Hattie (2009) has shown over a number of years the significance of the teacher for student learning. All education systems have at their core the desire for all students to achieve to their potential and to become well rounded, socially competent citizens of society. If such ambitions are to be realized, there is a need for research to consider more closely teacher variables that potentially influence student learning. We know much about the instructional practices that enhance student learning but the core of teaching relates not just to the instructional environment of the classroom but also to the socio-emotional climate that teachers create (Babad, 2009; Ennis, 1998). These social relationships depend on teacher attributes and hence, there is a need for research to explore more closely the inherent qualities of teachers that facilitate student learning and social outcomes. ‘It is the differences in the teachers that make the difference in student learning’ (Hattie, 2009, p. 236). References Anderman, E., & Midgley, C. (1997). Changes in achievement goal orientations, perceived academic competence, and grades across the transition to middle level schools. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32, 131–147. doi:10.1006/ceps.1996.0926 Anderman, L. H., Patrick, H., Hruda, L. Z., & Linnenbrink, E. A. (2002). Observing classroom goal structures to clarify and expand goal theory. In C. Midgley (Ed.), Goals, goal structures, and patterns of adaptive learning (pp. 243–294). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Babad, E. (2009). The social psychology of the classroom. New York: Routledge. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215. Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28, 117–148. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep2802_3 Brooking, K. (2007). Summary of the New Zealand literature prepared for a report on the international literature for the National College of School Leadership (UK). Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Brophy, J. E. (1985). Teacher-student interaction. In J. B. Dusek (Ed.), Teacher expectancies (pp. 303–328). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Brophy, J. E., & Good, T. L. (1974). Teacher-student relationships: Causes and consequences. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
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