Pre-service Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy: Relationship to Academic Ability, Student Teaching Placement Characteristics, and Mentor Support

Jul. 01, 2014

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 41, (July 2014), p. 60-66.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study was designed to examine elements of teacher preparation programs that may be related to pre-service teachers’ sense of efficacy.

The participants were 76 pre-service elementary education teachers completing their degrees at a university in the Western United States.
Data were collected through Teacher’s Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), and teacher preparation program database.


This study found that the academic measures, such as GPA at graduation and Praxis scores, were not significantly correlated to TSES total score.
This result suggests that participants’ academic performance in teacher preparation courses, does not necessarily translate to feelings of efficacy in the act of teaching.

The results also show that pre-service teachers’ perceptions of support during student teaching had a significant moderate correlation to the TSES scores.
This might be due to the extensive verbal and written feedback from the mentors throughout the student teaching experience. Mastery experiences, support, and positive feedback from supervisors and cooperating teachers were identified as important in developing efficacy.
In the case of student teaching, verbal persuasion by the mentors often follows a mastery experience during an observation, which has been shown to be particularly powerful for developing efficacy.

This research found student teaching in schools with higher student achievement was significantly related to higher teacher efficacy.
These results may suggest that preservice teachers who see cooperating teachers successfully raise student achievement scores believe that they too possess the skills necessary to do the same.

The authors conclude that it is imperative that teacher educators understand the unique contributions teacher preparation programs make to the development of effective teachers.
For teacher preparation programs to be effective, the components that lead to teacher effectiveness including teachers’ sense of efficacy, need to be well understood and implemented.

Updated: Jan. 13, 2015