A measure of classroom management: validation of a pre-service teacher self-efficacy scale

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December, 2020

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, 46:5, 616-630

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Classroom management skills are essential for effective teaching and consequently form an integral part of undergraduate teaching degrees.
Self-efficacy in classroom management influences an individual’s willingness to undertake specific actions and their perseverance in the face of difficulties in executing these actions.
In order to track the progress of pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy in classroom management, an easy to administer Classroom Management Self Efficacy Instrument (CMSEI) was developed and piloted with a third year cohort of pre-service teachers.
This article reports on the psychometric properties of the CMSEI as determined through a Rasch analysis.

Method

Instrument
In the development of the Classroom Management Self Efficacy Instrument (CMSEI) analysed in this research, existing classroom management scales were reviewed in light of Bandura’s recommendations.
The Teacher Readiness Scale for Managing Challenging Classroom Behaviours (Baker 2005) was selected for further consideration as it contained items which were statements of ability ‘I can’ or ‘I am able to’, reflecting efficacy as a judgement of performance.
Baker’s (2005) instrument was modified to include, theoretically, the least number of items that would still encompass the breadth of the construct.
Items were removed that did not reflect the emphasis placed on humanistic and ecological approaches to classroom management that are priorities in the Australian context and are, therefore, reflected in classroom management units of study in pre-service teaching degrees.
In addition to the classroom management self-efficacy scale items, the questionnaire collected demographic data including: age, gender, programme, past experience working with children, and parental status, which it was considered may impact upon participants’ classroom management self-efficacy.

Sample
As part of a broader study by Main and Hammond (2008), 302 pre-service teachers in their third year of a four year undergraduate education degree were invited to complete the CMSEI to determine their self-efficacy in classroom management.
A total of 123 (41%) of the pre-service teachers responded to the pre-intervention questionnaire and 69 (23%) responded to the post intervention questionnaire: 18 males and 51 females.
For the purpose of scale validation, 69 matched pre-post cases were used, resulting in a stacked sample for analysis totalling 138.

Results and discussion
The fit statistics suggest the items are measuring a single construct supporting the construct validity of the measure in combination with the face and content validity established during the development phase.
Both the PSI (0.89) and Cronbach’s alpha (0.90) infer reliability and accuracy of measurement.
The targeting of the items to the persons suggested that many of the items were too easy to endorse for this sample, the high mean person location, lack of items above 1.6 logits and the low usage of the category ‘strongly disagree’ were indicative of this.
There were, however, thresholds for items functioning across the entire range of person abilities.
The targeting of the items to the persons may be improved by adding items which are more difficult to endorse.
As the instrument was piloted with the third year cohort, the mean of the person estimates at time one (0.94 logits), prior to completing their third year, four week practicum, would theoretically allow for the instrument to be used with a second year cohort without creating a floor effect, and the addition of the suggested difficult to endorse items would protect against a ceiling effect if the questionnaire were implemented with final, fourth year students.
The Likert scale functioned well for the set of items.
Minimum distances between thresholds were consistently met and only item 10 exceeded the upper limit of 5 logits.
The low category usage frequencies for ‘strongly disagree’ are likely due to the sample size and the targeting of the items to the sample, rather than with the selected 4 point scale.
his should be resolved with a larger sample (N = 20 persons per item minimum) and the addition of more difficult to endorse items.

Conclusion
This analysis of Main and Hammond's (2008) CMSEI suggests it is a valid and reliable, theory based measure of classroom management self-efficacy for use with pre-service teachers in Australia.
The number of items makes it relatively quick to administer and, consequently, it could be used during pre-service coursework activities to provide an indication of how self-efficacy for classroom management is developing.
In addition, it can provide an opportunity for pre-service teachers to reflect on their self-efficacy for classroom management.
While a valid and reliable measure in its current form, it could be further refined with the addition of items that are more difficult to endorse which would further extend the range of self-efficacy it can accurately measure and allow for the tracking of classroom management self-efficacy across time during pre-service teacher education courses.

References
Baker, P. H. 2005. “Managing Student Behaviour: How Ready are Teachers to Meet the Challenge?” American Secondary Education 33 (3): 51–64. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41064554
Main, S., and L. Hammond. 2008. “Best Practice or Most Practiced? Pre-service Teachers’ Beliefs about Effective Behaviour Management Strategies and Reported Self-efficacy.” Australian Journal of Teacher Education 33 (4): 28–39. 

Updated: Jun. 06, 2021
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