- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950218
- First Name Regina
- Last Name Toolin
- Discipline Chemistry, Computer Science, Data Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, STEM Education (general)
Rory Waterman, Carmen Smith, Lisa Dion
The primary goal of the program is to develop highly-qualified, reflective practitioners who have a deep sense of their personal and professional self-efficacy, extensive knowledge of their subject matter and adept teaching skills and practices to effectively facilitate learning for students from diverse backgrounds, abilities and interests.
To what extent did Noyce Scholars’ professional self-efficacy change from pre to post MAT Program completion?
The construct of self-efficacy denotes the confidence that individuals possess about their ability to successfully plan, organize and engage in tasks resulting in positive outcomes and actions over time. Bandura (1997) theorized that the outcome of an individual’s self-efficacy has various effects on the actions they choose, the extent of effort, perseverance and resilience they exert, the kinds of thought patterns and coping mechanisms they cultivate, and the degrees of accomplishments they achieve. Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy can be extended to include teachers as models for these kinds of constructive behaviors and actions for students. An organized and engaged teacher who consistently demonstrates high expectations and well-defined standards can anticipate that students will respond in kind with positive interactions, resolute effort and perseverance in the tasks that they engage in over time. We utilized an instrumental case study framework (Stake, 2000) where the researcher’s purpose is predetermined and permits the selection of instruments and preliminary coding schemes prior to data collection. In an instrumental case study, the methods, meanings and patterns emerge after many repetitions of data collection, interpretation, and reflection. Themes of professional transition (Bischoff, et al., 2017) served as a model for the conceptual and analytical framework for this study that examined changes in Noyce Scholar professional self-efficacy pre and post MAT program completion. Bischoff’s (2017) “broad emergent themes” that described how teachers evolved from preservice to in-service teachers were utilized in the coding and analytical phases of the study.
An analysis of Noyce Scholar pre and post essays demonstrates clear evidence of the development of personal and professional self-efficacy. It might be argued that the context of the pre-application essay as preceding the Scholars’ experience of the program may have led applicants to write about personal rather than professional self-efficacy. However, most of the applicants cited their pre-application teaching related experience without describing how these experiences were related to their self-efficacy. In addition, it seems likely that the amount of experience in teaching related occupations (an average of ten years for this cohort) provided a sufficient basis for their reflection. Three of the six applicants expressed a desire to become more effective teachers in the pre-application essay. The majority of Scholars reflected confidence in their ability to teach a wide range of learners in their post program portfolio essays. Professional self-efficacy and growth was most evident in the expressions of the theme of professional knowledge and skills. Changes in Scholar professional self-efficacy from pre to post program completion were demonstrated in the Scholars’ abilities to be reflective and cognizant of their professional self-efficacy as they progressed through the program. Scholar post essays demonstrated the importance of peer collaboration, the development of teaching and organizational practices that integrate student-centered teaching strategies and growth in professional attitudes of accomplishment and enthusiasm with themselves and their overall teaching practice.
The analysis of essays written during the MAT application phase and again at program completion provided a sampling of Scholar perceptions of how they considered their readiness and comfort with developing the role of teacher over the course of the MAT Program. Findings from this study included confirmation of the perception of growth in professional confidence and knowledge among the cohort of Scholars. We recognize limitations of this study may include its small sample size as well as the fact that pre and post essays questions were not identical. Future studies might include a larger sample size of Scholars as well as entail the utilization of the Licensure Portfolio entry questions as pre and post questions for the study.
Educational researchers and methods instructors will gain insights about case study methodology regarding the development of personal and professional self-efficacy of preservice teachers pre and post MAT program completion. An examination of personal and professional self-efficacy and transition of STEM teachers over time may serve as a potential gateway to more extensive research that might be the subject of future study of Scholar development including studies that examine the relationship between Scholars use of assessment data from their students and the level of clarity and intensity of their own views of self-efficacy.