University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Linda Gaither
M. Ed., University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2003
B.A. Biology, Southwest Baptist University, 1971

Comparison of Alternatively Certified and Traditionally Certified Missouri High School Science Teachers’ Perceptions of Self-Efficacy during the Induction Period



Sixty percent of America’s teachers choose traditional baccalaureate programs while the remaining choose one of several alternative routes including: American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, Teach for America, Troops to Teachers, and individual state-sponsored alternative programs. While certification/training is certainly important to preparing effective teachers, other research indicates that teacher efficacy serves as the foundation of teacher behaviors and classroom practice. The purpose of this study (N = 94 induction high school science teachers) was to determine the relationship between certification pathway (traditional or alternative) and personal teaching efficacy, as well as years of experience (1-5) and personal teaching efficacy. The Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale was used in an on-line survey for Phase 1 (n = 91) to measure teacher self-efficacy. In Phase 2, a basic qualitative study was conducted using telephone interviews (n = 2) and a focus group (n = 4) along with a series of short essay questions from the online survey (n = 91). The findings indicate a statistically significant relationship between years of teaching and overall personal teaching-efficacy, student engagement, and instructional strategies; a relationship between opportunities to see modeling and certification pathway, where traditionally certified teachers had significantly more opportunities; and a relationship between classroom management and opportunities to see modeling, where those who saw no modeling (n = 14) had higher efficacy. Qualitative analyses confirmed that traditionally-prepared teachers saw a range of “modeling” and model teachers; respondents related such opportunities to more effective teaching. As more teachers choose alternative certification, it is imperative that adequate opportunities to observe teaching strategies are modeled during the certification process, and once teachers enter the classroom; they must have intrinsic and extrinsic support to be successful.


Date: April 2, 2013

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Place: 100 Marillac Hall, TLC, Conference Room 1


Defense of Dissertation Committee


Dr. Gayle Wilkinson (Advisor)

Dr. Lisa Dorner


Dr. Joseph Polman

Dr. Randall Sommers