Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, 33 (3). 225-233. (August, 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between teacher self-efficacy, collective efficacy, and job satisfaction among special education teachers.
The study further sought to examine any differences that may exist between teachers in different settings, of various certification types, and of varying teaching levels.
The following two research questions were addressed:
1. What is the relationship between reported levels of job satisfaction, teacher self-efficacy, and collective efficacy?
2. How do differences in job satisfaction, teacher self-efficacy, and collective efficacy relate to
(a) teaching level (elementary, middle, and high school),
(b) instructional setting (self-contained, resource, or inclusion), and
(c) certification type (highly qualified at the cognitive level, consultative, and emergency or nonrenewable)?
Participants in this study were seventy special education teachers from a school district approximately 40 miles from a major southeastern metropolitan area.
The participants completed three surveys measuring teacher self-efficacy, collective efficacy, and job satisfaction.
Teachers reported on their teaching levels (elementary,. middle, or high), their teaching assignments (inclusion, resource, or self-contained), and the status of the certification (highly qualified at the cognitive level, consultative level only, or emergency certification).
After examining the relationship between efficacy and satisfaction, these subgroups served as comparison groups to determine if any differences in efficacy or satisfaction existed between them.
The results indicated that teacher self-efficacy had a direct effect on job satisfaction. It was further found that collective efficacy directly affected teacher self-efficacy but that it did not have a direct effect on job satisfaction.
No significant differences were found in reported levels of these areas across subgroups of teachers categorized by teaching level (elementary, middle, and high), teaching setting (self-contained, resource, or inclusion), and certification type (highly qualified, not highly qualified, or emergency).
The implications of this study are that improving levels of teacher self-efficacy could improve levels of job satisfaction. Because teacher self-efficacy appears to be significantly related to teacher job satisfaction, methods for raising teacher efficacy levels, such as professional development opportunities and strong induction programs, should be examined as one means of reducing the attrition rate of teachers in special education. This could potentially be accomplished by increasing their levels of job satisfaction.
This study contributes to existing research regarding teacher attrition in two ways:
(a) The study examines teacher and collective efficacy levels specifically of special educators, who have an increased attrition rate, as a subgroup, and
(b) The study identifies specific constructs that may have a relationship with the job satisfaction of special educators.
Such information is needed in order for school leaders to adequately address the needs of this group of educators.
Additionally, the fact that teachers at all levels (elementary, middle, and high) report relatively equal levels in these three areas indicates that district approaches to improve efficacy and job satisfaction should be spread across all areas rather than targeted at specific groups.
The same logic applies to teachers with varying levels of certification and teaching settings. Special education teachers in these areas across the board may be able to experience increased job satisfaction through improved teacher self-efficacy and collective efficacy.
This could allow districts and schools to implement programs and training to improve these levels in all special educators and not just in specific targeted groups.