A Mixed Methods Study of Principals’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a High Poverty District

Christopher Silburn Pearce, Fordham University


The two main objectives of U.S. education policy are 1) to raise student achievement in every major academic subject and 2) to establish fairness by minimizing the persistent racial achievement gap. Effective principals are a key factor in this process of school improvement. Principal self-efficacy beliefs are crucial to school improvement efforts because those beliefs are positively linked to teacher self-efficacy and student achievement. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine principal self-efficacy beliefs and to determine how they compared to collective teacher efficacy. The study population consisted of principals and teachers in a small high-poverty district in New York which had shown three years of consistent improvement. Bandura's Social Cognitive Learning Theory of Self-efficacy provided the theoretical framework. The Principal Sense of Efficacy Scale, developed by Tschannen-Moran and Gareis, was used to measure principal self-efficacy. Collective Teacher Belief Scale, developed by Tschannen-Moran and Barr, was used to measure collective teacher efficacy. Qualitative data exploring principal self-efficacy beliefs was gathered through semi-structured interviews. The study revealed that there was a statistically significant relationship between principal self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy (r = .662, p < .05).

Subject Area

Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Pearce, Christopher Silburn, "A Mixed Methods Study of Principals’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a High Poverty District" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27836706.