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Teacher self-efficacy and the civic knowledge of secondary social studies teachers in a large urban school district

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Title:
Teacher self-efficacy and the civic knowledge of secondary social studies teachers in a large urban school district a policy study
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Holt, Dennis
Publisher:
University of South Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Educators
Confidence
Government
Literacy
Engagement
Dissertations, Academic -- Secondary Education -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
ABSTRACT: This policy study contributed to an understanding of the types of professional growth activities that improve teacher self-confidence to teach challenging subjects and helped determine the future allocation of resources relative to teaching secondary social studies in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), the eighth largest school district in the United States. An important implication and result of this study consisted of a change in HCPS secondary social studies professional development policy from an emphasis on promoting literacy strategies, or reading in the content area, to a focus on improving social studies teacher content knowledge. Additionally, the study describes the culture of change in the district in an era of high-stakes testing and accountability. Research determined whether secondary social studies teachers increased their self-efficacy after participating in civic knowledge and engagement activities. Secondary social studies teachers were administered a version of Gibson & Dembo's (1984) Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) at the beginning and end of summer institutes in civics and government. A one-way analysis of variance of the TES results revealed no significant difference in teacher pre- and post-test scores. However, teacher perception of their efficacy was high and scores from a Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey clearly indicated that high school teachers welcomed the new innovative professional development opportunities afforded to them through the summer institutes. The study was conducted under the Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT) grant, the goal of which was to expand the civic knowledge of the district's students and teachers.
Thesis:
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Dennis Holt.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
General Note:
Document formatted into pages; contains 123 pages.
General Note:
Includes vita.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002028694
oclc - 436295540
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0002803
usfldc handle - e14.2803
System ID:
SFS0027120:00001


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ABSTRACT: This policy study contributed to an understanding of the types of professional growth activities that improve teacher self-confidence to teach challenging subjects and helped determine the future allocation of resources relative to teaching secondary social studies in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), the eighth largest school district in the United States. An important implication and result of this study consisted of a change in HCPS secondary social studies professional development policy from an emphasis on promoting literacy strategies, or reading in the content area, to a focus on improving social studies teacher content knowledge. Additionally, the study describes the culture of change in the district in an era of high-stakes testing and accountability. Research determined whether secondary social studies teachers increased their self-efficacy after participating in civic knowledge and engagement activities. Secondary social studies teachers were administered a version of Gibson & Dembo's (1984) Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) at the beginning and end of summer institutes in civics and government. A one-way analysis of variance of the TES results revealed no significant difference in teacher pre- and post-test scores. However, teacher perception of their efficacy was high and scores from a Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey clearly indicated that high school teachers welcomed the new innovative professional development opportunities afforded to them through the summer institutes. The study was conducted under the Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT) grant, the goal of which was to expand the civic knowledge of the district's students and teachers.
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Teacher Self-Efficacy and the Civic K nowledge of Secondary Social Studies Teachers in a Large Urban School District: A Policy Study by Dennis Holt A dissertation proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Secondary Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: J. Howard Johnston, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Mi chael J. Berson, Ph.D. Dominic J. Puglisi, Ph.D. Arthur S. Shapiro, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 3, 2009 Keywords: Educators, Confidence, Government, Literacy, Engagement Copyright 2009, Dennis Holt

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Dedication You have heard the old saying that behind every successful man is a great woman. I am fort unate to have the loving s upport of two; my wife— Elizabeth Holt—and my mother, Ann Hol t. This dissertation is gratefully dedicated to the both of them.

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Acknowledgements Many individuals have had a hand in t he development of this research. I’d like to express special thanks to Dr Howard Johnston, Dr. Michael Berson, Dr. Arthur Shapiro, and Dr. Dick Puglisi—all memb ers of my doctoral committee—and to Dr. Steve Permuth, the outside chair. I extend additional thanks to Dr. Barbara Cruz and Dr. Ja mes Duplass of the Department of Secondary Education at the University of South Florida. The members of the Hillsborough County School Bo ard—Jennifer Faliero, Carol Kurdell, Doretha Edgecomb, April Griffin, Jack Lamb, Candy Olson, and Susan Valdez, along with Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia —have provided encouragement and support for secondary social studies and Project ELECT. Project ELECT’s project manager, Erin McGaffney, has overseen the smooth operation of the grant and provided professional developm ent opportunities for several hundred social studies teachers in this district Lanette Cezair saw to the day-to-day administration of Project ELECT’s considerable payroll and clerical requirements. Aimee Wilbanks suppl ied valuable advice and assistance with data analysis. Lastly, I give special t hanks to Suzanne Murray of StyleMatters for her editorial support.

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i Table of Contents List of T ables ........................................................................................................ iii List of Fi gures ....................................................................................................... iv Abstract ................................................................................................................ v Chapter 1: In troducti on ......................................................................................... 1 Context of the Problem ............................................................................ 13 Problem ................................................................................................... 16 Purpose of t he Study ............................................................................... 17 Research Q uestions ................................................................................ 17 Significance of the Stud y ......................................................................... 18 Limitations of the Study ............................................................................ 21 Definition of Terms ................................................................................... 22 Ethnicity ........................................................................................ 22 Experienc e .................................................................................... 22 Gender .......................................................................................... 22 FCAT ............................................................................................. 23 HCPS ............................................................................................ 23 NCLB ............................................................................................ 23 Personal Teaching Efficacy ........................................................... 23 Policy ............................................................................................ 23 Project EL ECT .............................................................................. 23 Teacher Self -Efficacy .................................................................... 23 Teacher Effica cy Scale ................................................................. 23 Research Plan ......................................................................................... 23 Research Su mmary ................................................................................. 27 Chapter 2: The Policy Context and Literature Review ........................................ 29 Why Teachers Lack Self-Effica cy ............................................................ 30 What Contributes to T eacher Self-E fficacy .............................................. 39 Pilot Study ................................................................................................ 41 Method .......................................................................................... 41 Results .......................................................................................... 43 Conclusi ons .................................................................................. 46 Linking the Pilot Study to t he Present Resear ch Study ............................ 47 Teacher Civics Knowledge and Teacher Self-E fficacy ............................ 47

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ii Chapter 3: The Policy Context and Current Envi ronment ................................... 51 Summary ................................................................................................. 63 Chapter 4: Research Plan and Resu lts .............................................................. 65 Procedure ................................................................................................ 66 Result s ..................................................................................................... 71 Summary ................................................................................................. 76 Chapter 5: Conclusions, Implications, Summary of Findings and Policy Decisions ....................................................................................................... 78 Policy Chal lenge ...................................................................................... 78 Context of t he Problem ............................................................................ 79 Problem ................................................................................................... 82 Purpose of t he Study ............................................................................... 83 Research Q uestions ................................................................................ 83 Policy Decision: Focus on Content Trai ning ............................................ 90 Chapter 6: Ep ilogue ............................................................................................ 98 References ....................................................................................................... 105 Appendice s ....................................................................................................... 114 Appendix A: Teacher Efficacy Survey ................................................... 115 Appendix B: High School T eacher Civics Su rvey ................................. 116 Appendix C: Pilot Study Survey Stat istics ............................................. 118 Appendix D: Project ELECT Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey Breakdown of Responses – Aggregate 20 08 ................... 120 Appendix E: Advanced Placement Government Scores Compared to PSAT ............................................................................ 122 About the Author ...................................................................................... End Page

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iii List of Tables Table 1: Selected Responses to the Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) Used in the Pilo t Study................................................................................. 44 Table 2: Responses to the T eacher Efficacy Sc ale (TES) ................................ 73

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iv List of Figures Figure 1: Mean teacher efficacy rati ng at pre-test and post-test ........................ 72 Figure 2: Policy decis ion framew ork .................................................................. 94

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v Teacher Self-Efficacy and the Civic K nowledge of Secondary Social Studies Teachers in a Large Urban School District: A Policy Study Dennis Holt ABSTRACT This policy study contributed to an understanding of the types of professional growth activities that improve teacher self-confidence to teach challenging subjects and helped determi ne the future allocation of resources relative to teaching secondary social studies in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), the eighth largest school district in the United States. An important implication and re sult of this study consisted of a change in HCPS secondary social studies professional dev elopment policy from an emphasis on promoting literacy strategies, or reading in the content area, to a focus on improving social studies teacher content knowledge. Additionally, the study describes the culture of change in the distri ct in an era of high-stakes testing and accountability. Research determined whethe r secondary social studies teachers increased their self-efficacy after participating in civic knowledge and engagement activities. Secondary social st udies teachers were administered a version of Gibson & Dembo’s (1984) T eacher Efficacy Scale (TES) at the beginning and end of summer institutes in civics and government. A one-way analysis of variance of the TES result s revealed no significant difference in

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vi teacher preand post-test scores. Howeve r, teacher perception of their efficacy was high and scores from a Summer In stitute Satisfaction Survey clearly indicated that high school teachers welc omed the new innovative professional development opportunities afforded to t hem through the summer institutes. The study was conducted under the Project E ducating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT) grant, the goal of which was to expand the civic knowledge of the district’s student s and teachers.

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1 Chapter 1 Introduction I know no safe depository of the ultima te powers of the so ciety but the people themselves; and if we think them not en lightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, t he remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. —Thomas Jefferson The secondary social studies progr am in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) is facing a challenge. The challenge for this di strict, the eighth largest in the United States with nearly 200,000 students and 200 schools, is similar to that faced by districts across the state of Florida and the nation. Namely, HCPS must ensure that knowledgeable teachers have the resources to provide meaningful instruction in social studies subjects to a diverse student population in a large urban setting at a time when high-stakes testing and accountability, which have previously focu sed more on reading, writing, math and science, may include social studies subj ects in the near future. Complicating matters is that the funding for profe ssional development of social studies teachers must compete with those discip lines that have been the focus of state and national accountability plans, and all at time when the economic situation has worsened and resulted in decr eased funding for public education.

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2 Like many school districts in the Un ited States, many secondary social studies teachers come into the prof ession having graduat ed from college with degrees in education but with little cont ent knowledge in subjects such as government and civics, American history, or world history. Indeed, their teacher preparation programs may have only requi red one or two classes in these subjects. This is true of the universitie s in the Tampa Bay region that supply most of the secondary social studies teacher s to the district. For example, in a Washington Post article, Diane Ravitch says that “The field of history has the largest percentage of unqualif ied teachers. The Departm ent of Education found that 55 percent of history teachers are "out of field," and that 43 percent of high school students are studying history with a teacher who did not earn either a major or minor in history. This may ex plain why nearly 60 percent of our 17-yearolds scored "below basic" (the lowest possibl e rating) on the most recent test of U.S. history administered by the feder ally funded National Assessment of Educational Progress.” (Thomas E. Fordham Institute, n.d.). The preparation of social studies educators has been an ar ea of heated debate, and the question of whether prospective teachers should co me out of colleges of education or departments of history and gov ernment is beyond the scope of this research. However, most of these teachers facing their first high school students in HCPS will find themselves teaching courses for which they possess little content knowledge and for which they may feel less than effective. An additional complication is that while the social studi es are currently not tested in Florida as

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3 part of the state’s plan fo r accountability, that appears about to change and to be tied to teacher compensation, all of which will be addressed in more detail below. The research described in this study serves as a vehicle for determining policy for HCPS. Additionally, the le ssons learned will a llow me, as the Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies, to make informed decisions regarding the administration of currently scant professional devel opment dollars and declining resources at a time when t he social studies will be coming under increased scrutiny as a separate and distin ct subject in an era of accountability. Florida’s Department of Education does not publish a formal definition of policy nor can it be found in HCPS School Board Policy Manual. For purposes of this study we will borrow fr om the North Carolina State Board of Education, which defines policy as “a broad course of acti on, a general statement of principle, or any resulting rules and regulations impl ementing these actions or principles” (North Carolina State Board of Education, n.d.). Under the federal government’s No Child Left Behind legislation and Florida’s A++ Plan for education, which ar e addressed in more detail in Chapter III, district, school and teacher account ability for improving student academic achievement have become central to the strategic planning of HCPS. District and school-based administrators have been fo rced to focus on strategies and to make decisions that would directly impr ove student learning as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). Reading, writing, math, and later science, were the first subjects to be tested. As a result, in HCPS, the social studies were relegated to a suppor ting role. Earlier supervisors of

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4 secondary social studies made the st rategic decision to focus teacher professional development on reading in t he content area. Essentially, it was determined that secondary social st udies teachers would become reading teachers, who would be trained in instru ctional strategies designed to improve student literacy. That student s would learn valuable social studies content was viewed as an important by-product, but a by-product nonetheless. To further illustrate the point, American Governmen t, a course required for graduation in Florida is taught in HCPS as a freshman c ourse, whereas most of the rest of the districts in the state teach it as a seni or level course. The rationale for this decision was that ninth graders woul d benefit from taking a “reading based” social studies course and that student reading scores would show improvement. That policy decision has been continued during my six year tenure as supervisor. As you will read below, this policy decisi on allowed secondary social studies to continue as a vital and in fact growing discipline, particularly in the area of elective offerings. Secondary social studies has earned a place as a valued subject area among district and school-bas ed administrators chiefly as a support for improving student reading scores a phenomenon discussed in detail in Chapter III. If the current educational environment were to remain static then secondary social studies could likely cont inue in its supporting role. However, the State Board of Education has recently revised the Sunshine State Standards for K – 12 social studies. The Next G eneration of Sunshine State Standards for social studies are far more detailed than the older version, with specific

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5 benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do in the elementary, middle and high school grades. In additi on, plans are being considered to expand state-wide testing of social studi es, first through district created end-ofcourse exams and eventually through state-wi de tests of social studies subjects. Complicating matters is that plans to compensate teachers based on student achievement are currently in place, fi rst via the Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) plan and later the Merit Awar d Program (MAP) pl an described below. Tying teacher compensation to student achievement, as determined by student performance on standardized tests, is a subject that has been taken up by the state legislature, and seems likely to expand. This eventuality has the potential for causing concern for secondary social studies teachers, particularly those who have little teaching experience and/or content knowledge. If we are indeed entering a time when t he social studies are to become a discipline that is held acc ountable via high stakes test ing, then how are teachers to be supported? What training will contribute to their ability to teach the subject confidently? Research conducted duri ng the Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT) grant has provided some answers. Lessons learned from the grant, and the resulti ng educator professional development opportunities in the area of content k nowledge in government and civics along with the purchase of teaching resources, may provide a basis for making policy decisions relative to the teaching of social studies in general. From the standpoint of district policy, the present research serves as a vehicle for the school district to dete rmine the circumstance and forces that have

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6 shaped the teaching of social studies, in general, and on the secondary level, in particular. The research conducted prov ides insight into HCPS for all those interested in social studies in the distric t, including me as progr am director for the Project ELECT grant and as the Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies. In this sense, the research functions as a t ool for assessing the current state of professional growth in social studi es education in HCPS and can provide the basis for evaluating both the effectiv eness of one aspect of the grant—namely, teacher professional development—and fo r determining future professional development goals. If you were to ask a school-based or district-level administrator in a Hillsborough County Public Hi gh School, “why is social studies important?” you would likely hear a response that included something like “because social studies teachers help teach reading” or “students in social studies classes show reading gains.” Principal Sharon Morris of East Bay High School immediately responded, “They are my go-to department; they ar e all about reading.” The same question posed to a high school social studies teacher in a Hillsborough County Public High School would likely result in answers such as, “because we teach active citizenship” or “because we teach about t he history of our country and America’s role in the world.” Both sets of res ponses indicate that social studies in Hillsborough County Public Hi gh School’s is a valued discipline, but for markedly different reasons. As Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies for the HCPS district, I have played a part in forming bot h sets of answers. This policy study describes the educational env ironment that has led to such diverse perceptions

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7 of the social studies discipline among educat ional professionals in this district and seeks to describe the long-term implicat ions that this perception has for our discipline. Additio nally, on the basis of the research described below, this study seeks to contribute to the ongoing conversa tion about the future course of social studies in HCPS, particularly when it comes to educator professional development and allocation of resources. For the past several years, social st udies teachers, along with teachers of other subjects, have received professiona l development training designed to improve student reading in t he content area. While assessing the effectiveness of this training goes well beyon d the scope of this study, it is useful to note here that administrators observing these secondary social studies teachers as a whole have noted an increase in teachers’ posit ive attitude toward teaching reading along with their subject matter and have observed that students in these teachers’ courses have made gains in r eading comprehension. This perception, which has led to the aforementioned adm inistrator comments, will be described in greater detail below. In the fall of 2007, the HCP S District, in partnership with the University of South Florida (USF), was awarded a 2. 04-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to promote under standing of the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature. The resulting projec t, entitled Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (Project ELECT) has a primary goal of expanding civic knowledge among the district ’s teachers and students. Supporters of this initiative believe that increased knowledge of civics and government will lead to

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8 students becoming well-informed adults who are actively engaged in the democratic process (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Among a number of objectives, Project ELECT seeks to prov ide HCPS social studi es teachers, from kindergarten through twelfth-grade, with nece ssary instructional strategies and tools to teach civics in the classroom Dr. Michael Berson of USF is coresearcher of the grant and, as a member of my doc toral committee, has also served as a guide and mentor for this study Before describing the scope of this study, time should be devoted to detailing so me features of Pr oject ELECT, given that the grant has provided the fundi ng for the professional development and resources examined in the present study. While training and resources for teacher s is a primary objective of the Project ELECT grant, a number of different aspects to the project bear noting. The Project ELECT staff has been worki ng successfully to meet the many objectives of the grant. The grant ki cked off in January 2008 at a town-hall meeting featuring researcher and grant partner, Dr. Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research in Civics Education (CIRCLE), who spoke to district teachers on the subject of youth civic engagement. Dr. Levine’s speech helped build momentum and intere st in civic engagement for the grant participants. Dr. Levine also helped the gr ant to reach out to the community, by speaking with the Mayor of Tampa, Pam Iorio, on her television show The Mayor’s Book Talk This episode aired on local cable stations and reached viewers across all of Hillsborough County, promoting civics education. Project ELECT also chose to utilize Dr. Levine’s book, The Future of Democracy:

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9 Developing the Next Gener ation of American Citizens in our first teacher book circle. Over 50 middle and high school teachers read Levine’s book and engaged in an online discussion with one another and the grant staff. During the capacity-buildi ng phase of the grant, Pr oject ELECT conducted both teacher and student focus groups in preparation and planning for the summer institutes described below. The voices of the youth and educators allowed us to develop relevant material that will make a significant impact on the civics content presented in classrooms in HCPS. Yet another aspect of Project ELECT were the Civics Education Curriculum Review Teams (CECRT). Knowledgeable K–12 social studies teac hers from across the district worked together to improve the civics curriculu ms and to infuse the teaching of government and civics across the social studi es curriculums into courses such as American and World History. Like much of Project ELECT, this is an ongoing process and these teachers have not only been infusing more civics into the classroom but have been creating supplement al resource materials that were distributed at our summer institutes and later throughout the school year. Project ELECT also implemented “Polit ician Chats” into social studies classrooms around the county featuring local, state, and federal elected officials volunteering to talk to st udents. We will continue this process not only for the remainder of the grant but into the fu ture, in hopes of providing more students with the opportunity to learn about democracy directly from elected officials and for those officials in turn to learn what is on the mind of our youth. We initially

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10 utilized our school board to establish the procedures and protocols for these chats. More information on th is topic is detailed below. While our Board has been actively engag ed in Project ELECT, their most significant contribution to increasing student civic engagement has been to bring the democratic process directly into t he classrooms by participating in the aforementioned “Politicians Chats.” Our entire Board has made numerous visits to K–12 social studies classrooms to de scribe Board members’ role in shaping school-district policy, issues affecting public education, and members’ decision to run for elective office. Having witnessed a number of these interactions I have been impressed by our Board’s willingness to consider the student perspective relative to issues of concern to them (e.g., dress code). The genuine give-andtake between Board members and students has been exciting to observe. Both parties have come away with an increased appreciation of each other. Most important, students realize that they can play an active role in shaping policy and that our elected Board is accessible to them. In this instance, our Board has enlisted students as essent ial partners in our distri ct’s mission, namely, “To provide an education that enables each student to excel as a successful and responsible citizen.” Project ELECT is in the producti on phase of “Democracy Rules,” a 15episode educational TV series that feat ures local politicians and student actors explaining civics and government concepts. The series will be distributed to all social studies teachers in HCPS and will be made avail able to school districts nationwide. Likewise, Project ELEC T is creating an interactive CD-ROM,

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11 produced with the help of St Petersburg College. The CD-ROM will contain a variety of civics resources and will incl ude over 500 teacher-created lesson plans developed during the three su mmer civics institutes. The Project ELECT grant staff has demonstrated their commitment to enhancing civics education in HCPS. Through the numerous and extensive teacher trainings that have been held ov er the summer and fall, Project ELECT has worked to advance both teacher and student civics content knowledge. In addition to the summer inst itutes, trainings have be presented by the Close-Up Foundation, Kids Voting Tampa Bay, t he Teachers Curriculum Institute, the ACLU, the Patel Center for Global Soluti ons at USF, the Fl orida Law Related Education Association, and The Gus A. St avros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education at USF, to name but a few. Last, Project ELECT has also part nered with existing HCPS programs such as “Ought to Be a Law” and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections voter registration “Youth Vote .” Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson’s office, along with the grant st aff, has visited economics classrooms throughout the district to promote voter registration to improve the students’ civics engagement. This spring alone, 5,744 high school seniors were registered and preregistered to vote. Project ELEC T and Representative Kevin Ambler’s “Ought to Be a Law” program has sent student s to the Florida capital, in hopes of getting a student-designed bill passed for the second year in a row. (In the 2007 session, a bill introduced by the student s became Florida St atute 1003.496: the High School to Business Career Enhancement Act.)

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12 Project ELECT has taken full advantage of the presidential elections in the fall of 2008 and the buzz about civics that has been created from it. The grant will continue to implement pertinent ci vics programs and reach out to students, teachers, and the community of HCPS in hopes of improving civics knowledge. In 2005, CIRCLE reported that teacher professional development in civic knowledge and understanding related positiv ely with students’ civic knowledge (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005). This study seeks to determine the relationship between teacher participation in professional development designed to improve their knowledge of civics and t heir self-efficacy, as well as provide information that could be useful in ulti mately understanding how this self-efficacy may relate to students’ civic knowledge. A considerable body of research exists regarding the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and student ac hievement. Alfred Bandura’s (1997) definition of self-efficacy as “the belie f in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” relates to the concept that a teacher’s self-efficacy affects a teacher’s belief that he or she can help students learn. If t eachers possess self-efficacy, they believe that they can influence student learning. Research in dicates that a teacher ’s sense of selfefficacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Likewise, research conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) indicates that a teacher’s feelings concerning his or her own efficacy is one of the crucial variables associated with

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13 student achievement. Rosenthal and Ja cobsen pointed out that teachers’ expectations of their own abilities (as well as that of their students) can play a critical role in student achievement. Mo re recent research (Tournaki & Podell, 2005) indicates that teachers with hi gh self-efficacy have more positive expectations of student achievem ent and better student outcomes. From the standpoint of policy, the re search served as a vehicle for the school district to determine the circ umstance and forces that have shaped the teaching of social studies, in general, and on the secondary level, in particular. The research conducted provided insight into HCPS for all those interested in social studies in the district, including me as Program Director for the Project ELECT grant and as the Supervisor of Se condary Social Studies for HCPS. In this sense, the research functions as a t ool for helping to clar ify the current state of social studies education in HCPS and can provide the basis for evaluating both the effectiveness of one as pect of the grant—namely, a specific program of teacher professional development—and fo r determining future professional development goals. A central question that this study a ttempts to answer is whether after participating in summer institutes designed to increase civic knowledge and improve instruction, high school social studies teachers who completed this training report an increase in their ci vic knowledge and their self-efficacy. Context of the Problem According to the 2005 CIRCLE repor t (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005), students who had teachers who either possessed a degree in a civics-

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14 related subject or who had participated in professional development in civic knowledge, scored better on tests of civic knowledge than did students of teachers who possessed neither. Many secondary social studies teachers come to HCPS high schools without degrees in civics-related subjects (government, political science, etc.) and may have taken only one or two classes in the subject during their teacher preparation programs. Many of these new teachers find themselves teaching American Government, a course typically taught to ninth graders in HCPS as a Florida requirement for high school graduat ion. Many teachers feel that their efforts are less than effective, as they ar e teaching a subject in which they often have little knowledge, to a group of st udents who potentially require the most attention. This is particularly stressful for teachers at a time when accountability and high-stakes testing c an impact teacher pay. The Florida Department of Education first introduced the Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) plan to compens ate teachers who are able to help students achieve learning gains, and late r replaced it with the Merit Award Program (MAP), effective March 2007 (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-a). The HCPS plan includes the use of st udent achievement on district tests, including American Government, to ev aluate and compensate high school social studies teachers (Florida Departm ent of Education, n.d.-b). In addition to teacher compensation bei ng tied to student performance, the State of Florida has explor ed the idea of a social studies Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) joining those alread y in place for reading, math, writing,

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15 and science. State Senate Bill 2570, introduced during the 2008 legislative session, called for the Florida Departm ent of Education to “develop and administer a statewide assessment for soci al studies that includes an emphasis on the integration of economics education and civics education (emphasis added) as required in state statute 1001.03(1)” (SB 2570). While the bill was not approved, a social studies FCAT, which would incorporate an emphasis on civics, could become a reality in the near future. Finally, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and the reauthorization of the El ementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) call for “highly qualified” teachers in U.S. classrooms. The law requires that teachers of core subjects, including social studies, be highly qualified. This status is determined based on three criteria: (a) the teacher has a bachelor’s degree or higher, (b) he or she has achieved full st ate certification, and (c) he or she demonstrates knowledge in the subjects ta ught. To summarize the goal of these measures, U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret S pellings, stated that, "we know nothing helps a child learn as much as a great teacher. Great teachers are helping us reach our goal of having every child doing grade-level work by 2014" (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). In a s peech delivered to the Florida State Legislature in Tallahassee in January of 2008, Spellings called for the reauthorization of NCLB, rema rking that “Great teachers are critical to all this [NCLB and Florida’s student achievem ent gains] and to improving student learning. We need to do a better job of recruiting and preparing good teachers

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16 and getting them to where they're needed most” (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). Florida’s revised plan for highly qua lified teachers (HQT) recognizes that the state faces a challenge re cruiting and retaining these individuals. The state’s HQT Revised Plan (2006) stated that: With the highest in-migration growth ra te of all states, a steadily growing and diverse student population, and a state constitutional amendment requiring sweeping reduction of class size at all grade levels, Florida continues to face substantial challenges in its efforts to ensure that all students have access to highly qualifi ed teachers… schools that are not making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progre ss as measured under NCLB) have a higher percentage of not highly qualif ied teachers (NHQT) classes than for all schools in the grouping. At the state level, school classifications with the most acute needs for teacher quality include secondary high-poverty schools (16.2% NHQT), secondary highpoverty schools not making AYP (16.1% NHQT), secondary schools not making AYP (13.1% NHQT), high-poverty school s not making AYP (12.9% NHQT), and high-minority schools not making AYP (12. 9% NHQT). However, it should be noted that there are other classifications that also have more than 10 percent of core classes taught by teachers who ar e not highly qualified (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001).

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17 Problem In this current environment, it is va luable for training and recruitment of highly qualified teachers, as well as re source allocation, to examine whether teacher self-efficacy plays a role in student academic achievement. Social studies teachers can also benefit from su ch an examination by learning whether their efficacy and efforts contribute to st udent achievement. Moreover, teachers could benefit from the k nowledge that their efforts might be significantly financially rewarded on the basis of student achievement. Students would benefit from increased knowledg e of civics, leading to more active citizenship and a greater potential of passing a social studies FCAT examination that may well be a graduation requirement in the near future. In this era of high-stakes testing and accountability, HCPS site-based and district administrators benef it from knowing to w hat degree professional development activities relative to government and civics im prove a teacher’s ability to teach those subjects and to what degree they improve student academic performance. As noted above, t here is an underlying societal goal of increasing student civic engagement and par ticipation in our democracy. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this policy study was to determine if secondary social studies teachers in a large urban school district, namely Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), dem onstrated an increase in their sense of personal teaching efficacy after participatin g in civic knowledge and engagement professional development activities.

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18 Research Questions Do secondary social studies teachers in HCPS, who have participated in training to improve their knowledge of civics and government, gain a greater degree of self-efficacy in relation to their teaching? In addition to exploring this central question, this study addresses t he following contextual questions relevant to the ultimate revision or formation of policy regar ding social studies teacher professional development: 1. How has the current environm ent of high-stakes testing and accountability shaped the teaching of government and civics in HCPS? 2. How have site-based and district administrators supported and altered the teaching of government and civics in this district? 3. What is the role of Project EL ECT in transforming and improving the teaching of government and civics in HCPS? 4. Do teachers participating in Projec t ELECT and this study perceive that they have adequate training in civics and government? 5. What is the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and training, experience, and degree attainment? 6. Can Project ELECT and other district initiatives improve the teaching of government and civics and how can this knowledge improve strategic decision making relative to teacher training and allocation of resources?

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19 Significance of the Study This study focuses on HCPS high sc hool social studies teachers who participated in one of three summer in stitutes developed under Project ELECT. Project ELECT is a 2.04-million-dollar grant awarded to HCPS by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Sa fe and Drug-Free Schools in the fall of 2007. The duration of the grant is from October 2007 to March 2009. Project ELECT is based on the premis e that exemplary civics education, which includes an understanding of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, is a requisite for producing adults who confi dently participate in the democratic process (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). While HCPS has maintained a long history of professional development activities designed to improve the teaching of social studies, particularly hist ory, little attention has been paid to teaching government and civics. In my t enure as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies (September 2002 to the present), few pr ofessional development opportunities focusing on civics and gover nment content and/or pedagogy have been made available to secondary social studies teachers in the district. However, the funding awarded th rough Project ELECT changed that circumstance. The Project ELECT grant provides HCPS with the opportunity to create a civics education support system based on national and state standards as well as culturally competent teaching strat egies and that assesses both teacher and student knowledge of civics and government using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (N AEP) for civics. Training opp ortunities conducted during

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20 the Summer of 2008 were intended to provide teachers with an updated curriculum designed to highlight the t eaching of government and civics, to improve content knowledge, and to suppl y resources that would support both teacher and student knowledge of gover nment and civics. These summer institutes also provided an opportunity to collect data on teacher self-efficacy as it relates to knowledge of civics and government. HCPS has partnered with US F in Tampa, Florida, to provide content experts in government and civics and to as sess the effectiveness of the grant’s training and resulting increases (or dec reases) in student and teacher knowledge of government and civics. This study focuses on high school soci al studies teachers who participated in one of three summer institutes desig ned to improve teacher knowledge of government and civics. This study was designed as a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of district training initiative s as they relate to teacher self-efficacy and student achievement. This study, therefor e, contributes as a tool for myself and other HCPS policy makers to determi ne how best to organize and evaluate teacher training and resources. There is a considerable body of research regarding the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and student ac hievement. Alfred Bandura (1997) described self-efficacy as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” In other words, teacher self-efficacy relates to a teacher ’s belief that he or she can help students learn. Teacher efficacy (rather than self -efficacy) refers to whether or not

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21 teachers are, in fact, effective in hel ping students learn in a measurable fashion (Ashton & Webb, 1986). If teachers possess self-efficacy, they believe that they can influence student learning. Research in dicates that a teacher ’s sense of selfefficacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Likewise, research conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) indicated that a te acher’s feelings concerning his or her own efficacy is one of the crucial variables associated with student achievement. Rosenthal and Ja cobsen pointed out that teachers’ expectations of their own abilities (as well as that of their students) can play a critical role in student achievement. Mo re recent research (Tournaki & Podell, 2005) indicates that teachers with hi gh self-efficacy have more positive expectations of student achievement and better student outcomes. For the purposes of this study, a 22-item Teacher Efficacy Scale (illustrated below), as opposed to the 16-item version used in the Tournaki and Podell study, was used to determine the degree to which t eacher self-efficacy increased based on teachers having participated in professiona l development designed to increase their knowledge of government and civics. Limitations of the Study The following are limitations specific to this study. 1. This study was limited to social studies teachers and students at 25 HCPS high schools. While this pr ovided a significant sample size,

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22 generalization regarding other measur es of student achievement would be difficult. 2. Given the selection of specific HCPS courses and teachers, this study may not be generalizable to ot her grade levels and subjects. 3. Teacher subjects in this study worked under my supervision and, while day-to-day contact was limited, so me influence on the teachers’ degree of self-efficacy might have existed on the basis of their selection for this study and partici pation in the summer institutes developed under Project ELECT. Howe ver, this influence might have been minimized by the fact that teachers were accepted to the summer institutes on a first-come-first-serv ed basis and that all of them were surveyed anonymously. 4. Teachers participating in the st udy were paid to attend the summer institutes at a rate substantially gr eater than the normal rate of pay for workshops ($27 versus $10 per hour). This may affect teacher perception of the positive impact of the summer institutes. Definition of Terms Ethnicity The ethnic affiliation of the teacher as self-reported on the survey instrument. Experience The number of years a teacher has taught social studies, as self-reported on the survey instrument. Gender The sex of the teacher, as self-reported on the survey instrument.

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23 FCAT The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, used to determine school grades under the state’s A++ plan (F lorida Department of Education, n.d.c). HCPS. Hillsborough County Public Sc hools located in Hillsborough County, Florida. NCLB The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). Personal teaching efficacy. A synonym of the term self-efficacy coined by Ashton and Webb in their 1982 study of Bandura’s social cognitive theory. Policy. A broad course of action, a general statement of principle, or any resulting rules and regulations implementin g these actions or principles. Project ELECT Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today, a $2.04 million U.S. Department of Education grant awar ded to HCPS’s in October of 2007 to Improve Public Know ledge and Support of Democracy. Teacher self-efficacy A teacher’s self-reported “judgment of his or her capability to bring about desired outco mes of student engagement and learning, even among students who may be difficult or unmotivated” (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001, pp. 283-285). Teacher Efficacy Scale The 22-item version of Gibson and Dembo’s (1984) Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES). Research Plan While data collection is but one aspect of this policy study, it does provide an opportunity to shape policy relative to teaching government and civics in

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24 HCPS. The sample consists of teacher s in HCPS who teach regular, honors, and/or Advanced Placement high school soci al studies courses. The selected social studies teachers are distributed acro ss the district’s 25 high schools, which serve approximately 50,000 students (HCPS Fact Sheet, 2008). These teachers were selected based on their participati on in one of three summer institutes offered for the teaching of government and civics, supported by the Project ELECT grant. During the summer of 2008, three w eek-long summer institutes were organized to provide approximately 600 K12 HCPS social studies teachers with professional development in government and civi cs content knowledge and pedagogy. Political Science professors fr om the University of South Florida provided the majority of th is professional development, lecturing on topics such as “Voting Rights,” “Democracy Promotion in the Middle East,” and “Civil Rights versus Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrori sm.” Additionally, teachers participated in workshops to acquaint themselves with resources to support the teaching of government and civics, for example, T eacher’s Curriculum Institutes’ (TCI) “Government Alive” materials. The inst itutes presented the same material to three different audiences of teachers. There are numerous instruments ava ilable to measure teachers’ selfefficacy, and most have come under scrut iny by researchers during the past 2 decades. Bandura (1997) proposed that effica cy beliefs were powerful predictors of behavior since they were ultimately se lf-referent in nature and directed toward specific tasks. Aston and Webb (1982) applied Bandura’s social cognitive theory

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25 to teaching and coined the term “personal teaching efficacy,” a synonym to this study’s use of the term self-efficacy In 1984, Gibson and Dembo developed the Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES), as an attempt to develop a data collecti on instrument to study teacher selfefficacy. In the past, similar instru ments have included the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI; Ri ggs & Enochs, 1990); Teacher Locus of Control (TLC; Rose & Medway, 1981), and the Responsibility for Student Achievement (RSA; Guskey, 1981). Howe ver, some variability does exist between the instruments’ abilities to yield reliable scores. In fact, a recent study indicates the Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) to be among the most reliable measure of teacher self-efficacy (Cola darci & Fink, 1995; Guskey & Passaro, 1994; Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998). As stated above, one purpose of this study is to determine whether a relationship exists between HCPS high sch ool social studies teachers’ selfefficacy and the training they receive in pedagogy and knowl edge of government and civics. It was hypothesized that teac hers would report a higher degree of self-efficacy scores, during the administr ation of Gibson and Dembo’s 1984 TES, after having participated in the summer in stitutes offered through the Project ELECT grant. Teachers of secondar y social studies (regular, honors, and Advanced Placement) were administer ed the TES at the beginning and end of the summer institutes, and comparisons were made among those scores. Teacher anonymity was protected by use of an ID number that was not divulged to me. Participating teachers were also asked to take the National Assessment

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26 Educational Progress High School Civi cs Assessment prior to beginning the summer workshops and several months after completion. While the preand post-test NAEP data were not compared for purposes of this st udy, data from a teacher satisfaction survey, conducted by USF, was used to measure teacher self-reported gains in content knowledge. It was postulated that participation in the institutes would produc e a self-reported increase in teacher knowledge, as measured by the Project ELECT Summer In stitute Satisfaction Survey, and that increase in knowledge would correlate posit ively with an increase in teacher selfefficacy as measured by the TES. The TES is available to teachers online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gwplGZ8JvGFR_2bInb8wqToA_3d_ 3d. Along with the TES and satisfaction survey, teachers were asked to complete a demographic questionnaire t hat would determi ne the following: 1. their teaching assignment (regular honors, Advanced Placement, or a mix) 2. their level of experience 3. their degree level 4. any honors they have achieved (T eacher of the Year, National Board Certification, etc.) 5. their age, gender, and ethnicity The TES, satisfaction survey, and demographic questionnaire were distributed to all secondary social studi es teachers who attended one of the three summer institutes sponsored by Projec t ELECT. Of the 452 teachers who

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27 attended the summer institutes, 425 took the satisfaction survey, 116 of which were high school teachers. Eighty-one high school teachers took the TES. In order to maintain teacher anonymity, ident ification numbers were assigned to the TES’s, satisfaction surveys, and demographic questionnai res. The HCPS Department of Assessment and Account ability was given the completed instruments and assisted in performing t he appropriate statistical measures, including t tests and analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Research Summary The purpose of this research was to provide data to enable HCPS to assess the degree to which HCPS social studies teachers’ self-efficacy was affected by participation in government and civics training, as well as their training in pedagogy and exposure to new teaching resources. The resulting knowledge will be useful to me in my ro les as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies for the school district and Project Dir ector for Project Elec t. In a time of high-stakes FCAT testing and NCLB a ccountability, combined with limited budgets for professional development, it is critical that resources and training dollars be allocated in the most effectiv e way possible. Moreover, since social studies teachers in the district benefit when they are able to produce gains in student participation in the democratic pr ocess, along with teaching valuable content, identification of t he variables contributing to that success is desirable. Additionally, teacher compens ation is increasingly tied to student achievement. Simply put, this study may contribute to an understanding of t hose factors that

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28 play a role in social studies teachers’ be lief that their effectiveness leads to their students’ success.

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29 Chapter 2 The Policy Context: Literature Review Central to this study is the concept of teacher self-efficacy. Teacher selfefficacy refers to the teacher’s sense t hat he or she is an effective teacher (regardless of whether that is true or not). Alfred B andura (1997) described selfefficacy as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainment s.” In other words, when applied to teaching, teacher self-efficacy relates to a teacher’s beliefs that he or she can help students learn. Teac her efficacy (rather than self -efficacy) refers to whether or not teachers are actually effective in helping students learn in a measurable fashion (Ashton & Webb, 1986, pp. 3-6). If teachers possess self-efficacy, they believe they can influence student learni ng. If teacher efficacy exists, then teachers can, in fact, influence student learning in a measurable way. The present study focuses on teacher self-effi cacy because research indicated that a teacher’s sense of self-efficacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Likewise, research conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) indicated that a teacher’s feelings concer ning self-efficacy is one of the crucial variables associated with student ac hievement. Rosenthal and Jacobsen

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30 pointed out that a teacher’s expectations of his or her own abilities (as well as that of the students) can play a cr itical role in student achievement. Why Teachers Lack Self-Efficacy In the studies cited above, a strong s ense of self-efficacy was associated with gains in student achievement. The reve rse, of course, is also evidenced in these studies—that a low sense of self-e fficacy is associated with lower student achievement (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). In addition, low self-effi cacy and general dissatisfaction with one’s own job performance, as well as t he poor performance of students, can contribute to teacher burnout and attrition. Burnout is described in the following definition: A psychological syndrome of emoti onal exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who work with other people in some capac ity. Depersonalization refers to a negative, callous, or excessively detached response to other people, who are usually the recipients of one’ s services or care. (Maslach, 1993, pp. 20-21) Burnout is thus a job-related syn drome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalizat ion, and diminished personal accomplishment. Reduced personal accomplishment is described as “a person’s negative selfevaluation in relation to his or her j ob performance” (Schaufeli, Maslach, & Mareck, 1993, p. 17). What is key to not e in this definition is that burnout is

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31 based on an individual’s perception of the workplace environment and the individual’s ability to function within that environment. Burnout is found especially among such professions as social workers, police officers, doctors, and teachers working for and with people such as clients, patients, and pupils. Burnout is not a one-time occurrence or an instantaneous event; rather, it gradually builds to a level at which the professional begins to behave in a dysfunctional manner (Evers, Gerrichauzen, & Tomic, 2000, p. 33). Studies of teacher self-efficacy indi cate that emotional exhaustion and feelings of ineffectiveness can lead to teacher burnout (Brouwers & Tomic, 1998, p. 10). While many factors can contribute to teacher burnout, according to Alfred Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory on the subject, it is not the tasks that cause one’s stress but rather one’s perceiv ed ability to carry out these tasks. Often, classroom management problems, as opposed to content knowledge, lead to a teacher’s lack of self-efficacy (Eve rs, Gerrichauzen, & Tomic, 2000, p. 33). According to a study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (Ingersoll, Alsalam, Quinn, & Bobbitt, 1997), the following factors can also contribute to teacher burnout: 1. Teachers are underpaid. 2. Teachers have too little say in the operation of schools. 3. Teachers have few opportunities to improve teaching skills. 4. Teachers suffer from a la ck of support and assistance. 5. Teachers are not adequately rewarded or recognized for their efforts.

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32 This research addresses two of these fact ors. Namely, this research focuses on whether training in government and ci vics content knowledge and pedagogy, and the opportunity to be financially rewar ded for improved student performance, improve teacher self-efficacy. In addition, the above study points out t hat teacher attrition may also be caused by a mismatch between actual teaching experience and expectations. According to the Department of Educati on report and other reformers, the key to improving the quality of schools is to upgrade the status, training, and working conditions for teachers. The rationale beh ind this concept is that upgrading teacher status and skills will lead to im proved teacher morale and performance and thus to increased student learning (Leming, 1999). It should be noted that in the case of t he factors listed abov e, perception is reality. On the basis of B andura’s theories on self-efficacy (that it is not the tasks themselves but the individuals’ confidenc e in their ability to carry them out), teacher dissatisfaction with working condi tions is largely a function of the teacher’s perceived shortcomings in his or her working environment, rather than whether the conditions actually exist. However, there is debate as to whether the problem of t eacher attrition is as dramatic as the U.S. Department of E ducation study indicates. According to research sponsored by the Rand Corporat ion and conducted by Grissmer and Kirby (1992), teacher attrition levels are at their lowest ra te in the past 25 years. They attribute their findings to the following factors:

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33 1. Teacher attrition is greatest during the first 5 years of teaching, and the teacher workforce of the 1990’ s was made up largely of midcareer/middle-aged individuals rather than new teachers. 2. Women teachers have changed their wo rkforce behavior. Rather than dropping out of teaching altogether when starting a family, they tend to drop out less often and for shorter periods of time. 3. Many teachers are enter ing the profession at a la ter stage in life (their thirties rather than their twenties). 4. Teacher salaries have been on the rise since the late 1980’s. An additional factor in t eachers remaining in the profession relates to the amount of time they have spent teaching (Leming, 1999). More experienced teachers have a greater sense of teachi ng self-efficacy and are more likely to remain in the classroom. Additional factors that may influence a teacher’s decision to remain in the profession in clude the fact that pay and benefits for teachers have increased significantly (Grissme r & Kirby, 1994). Certainly, this is true in Florida, where salary and reti rement benefits are based primarily on seniority. Also, as noted abov e, the teacher workforce is largely older (starting in their thirties as opposed to their twenties) and this may contribute to their sense of self-efficacy and their desire to remain on the job. According to a study conducted by Ross, Cousins, and Gada lla (1996), teacher self-efficacy is stronger for experienced teacher s. Additionally, the stud y indicated that teachers with graduate degrees were more self-effi cacious than those without. Clearly, their study indicates that teacher se lf-efficacy increased with time in the

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34 profession and with greater education. Ir onically, many states have instituted efforts to reduce the number of experienced, and more expensive, teachers. These states have offered i nducements for teachers to take early retirement as a way of reducing education budgets (of wh ich salary and benefits make up the largest cost). Many teachers are eligible to retire in their fifties, with 25–30 years of service, rather than waiting until the traditional retirement age of 65. Efforts to improve the profession have received support at the federal level in the form of Goals 2000 legislation ( 1994) and funding. Efforts in Florida and HCPS have focused on supporting and pr omoting National Board Teacher Certification. HCPS has also placed increased emphasis on teacher training and staff development. However, there is little actual consensus as to what will improve teacher performance. Disagreements exist as to whether efforts should focus on 1. salary and bonuses 2. improving individual teacher attitudes toward their work 3. training and educational programs to upgrade skills 4. staff collegialit y and collaboration 5. decentralization of school/district decision-making. All of the efforts listed above have been tried to some degree in HCPS. However, no study known to the res earcher has been implemented to determine the effectiveness of these measures. T he present study is thus designed to explore a portion of teac her attitudes toward t heir work—self-efficacy.

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35 A 1989 study of teacher recruitment and retention suggested a number of ways to improve teaching and schools in general. Ann Richardson Gayles (pp. 61-67) offered the following suggestions for improving teachers’ professional experience: 1. Schools should give active encour agement to the basic principles of academic freedom. 2. Teachers should be provided with the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process of the school and the carrying out of cooperative plans. 3. New teachers need to be made to feel a part of the school and to receive help in identifying resources. 4. Teachers should be provided with opportunities for research, study, professional travel, and membersh ip in professional organizations. 5. Instructional supervisor/mentor programs should be developed and implemented. 6. Good teaching shou ld be recognized. 7. Periodic and meaningful evaluations should be provided. Relative to improving the actual work ing conditions of teachers, Gayles went on to recommend that student-to-teacher ratios s hould not be greater than 25:1. Teachers should also be given the opportunity to specialize in areas of interest to them, and their subsequent teaching assignments should remain stable enough over time to allow t hem to develop adequate knowledge and experience. Teacher workloads, particu larly nonteaching dutie s, should be kept

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36 to a minimum. Teachers should have access to adequate teaching facilities and resources and should enjoy the support of a competent administrative and clerical staff. Finally, Gayles recomm ended that an atmosphere of high faculty morale should be fostered. Proposals for retaining teachers developed by Schnorr (1994) include welcoming and orienting new staff, encouraging support and collegiality, providing for teacher control of the work environment, and supporting professional development. A study by Grissmer and Kirby (1994) has offered many of the same suggestions. In addition, however, they suggested the idea of differential pay based on teaching specialty, “teaching quality,” and experience (p. 5). They further point out that teachers and teacher unions have not been strong proponents of differential pay. The state of Florida recently provided a bonus of $2,000 to Science and English as a Se cond Language (ESOL) teachers. The state also provides funding (approximatel y 90%) for teachers to pursue National Board Teacher Certification and pays an annual bonus equal to 10% of the statewide average teacher pay, currently around $4,000. Florida also provides money to schools that score high on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), money that can then be allo tted to teachers in the form of bonuses. More recently, the Florida Department of Education introduced the Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) plan to compensate teachers who are able to help students achieve learning gains but replaced it with the Merit Award Program (MAP), effective March 2007 (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-a).

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37 The HCPS plan includes the use of st udent achievement on district tests, including the subject of American Govern ment, to evaluate and compensate high school social studies teachers (Florida Depart ment of Education, n.d.-b). Clearly, the trend in Florida is for teacher compensat ion to be more directly tied to student achievement, whether measured by t he FCAT or district exams. Grissmer and Kirby (1994) also stated that, in addition to pay incentives, districts and schools should do a better job of recognizing the successes achieved by both individual teachers and t he profession as a whole. They point out that much of the conventional wis dom regarding schools and teaching is inaccurate. As evidence, they have cit ed that national test scores are actually increasing rather than decli ning. They have pointed out that scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progr ess (NAEP) have increased in reading and math from 1970 to 1990 (pp. 7–8). T hey have noted that while SAT scores have declined, they are not representative of any identif iable group over time. The decline is primarily due to the self-s elected sample taking the test—a sample which has grown and changed in composition over time. Additionally, due to the fact that this sample does not incl ude the groups whose test scores have increased most rapidly over the past 20 years—namely, lower scoring or noncollege-bound students—SAT scores pr ovide a misleading picture of performance of youth over the past 20 year s (p. 6). Grissmer and Kirby also stated that teacher morale and performance can be neg atively affected by the fact that teaching is a pr ofession that is undeservedly criticized. They have

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38 called on researchers to contribute to t eacher retention by simply “getting the message right.” For purposes of this study, Project ELECT has funded the opportunity to provide teacher professional development in content knowledge of government and civics, as well as provid ing instructional strategies and resources. As was noted above, it was hypothes ized that such training would produce a measurable increase in secondary social studies teac hers’ self-efficacy and that they would self-report an increase in their content knowledge relative to government and civics. The grant provided a dual benefit to HCPS secondary social studies teachers by providing training in c ontent and pedagogy; this, in turn, might potentially improve student performance on di strict tests, which could result in teachers receiving perform ance-based bonuses. Both positive outcomes could contribute to greater teacher self-effi cacy and to a desire to remain in the classroom. As has been previously stated, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, the reauthorization of the Elem entary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), exacerbates the need to retain “hig hly qualified” teachers in our nations’ classrooms. The law requires that teacher s of core subjects, including social studies, be highly qualified. This status is determined based on three criteria: (a) the teacher has a bachelor’s degree or higher, (b) the teacher has achieved full state certification, and (c) the teacher demonstrates kn owledge in the subjects taught (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001).

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39 Florida’s revised plan for highly qua lified teachers (HQT) recognizes that the state faces a challenge re cruiting and retaining these individuals. The state’s HQT Revised Plan (2006) stated the following: With the highest in-migration growth ra te of all states, a steadily growing and diverse student population, and a state constitutional amendment requiring sweeping reduction of class size at all grade levels, Florida continues to face substantial challenges in its efforts to ensure that all students have access to highly qualifi ed teachers… schools that are not making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progre ss as measured under NCLB) have a higher percentage of NHQT classes t han for all schools in the grouping. At the state level, school classifications with the most acute needs for teacher quality include secondary high-poverty schools (16.2% NHQT), secondary highpoverty schools not making AYP (16.1% NHQT), secondary schools not making AYP (13.1% NHQT), high-poverty school s not making AYP (12.9% NHQT), and high-minority schools not making AYP (12. 9% NHQT). However, it should be noted that there are other classifications that also have more than 10% of core classes taught by teachers who are not highly qualified (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). What Contributes to Teacher Self-Efficacy Numerous studies exist that point to a relationship between teacher experience and teacher retention (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Li kewise, studies indicate a correlation

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40 between teacher experience and efficacy (Ross, Cousins, & Gadalla, 1996). However, Leming’s (1999) study of the relationship between years of teaching experience and self-efficacy found that only a low positive correlation (-.21) existed between the two constructs. Teacher self-efficacy has proven to be significantly related to teacher effectiveness and student performance (Ash ton & Webb, 1986). Teachers who are more experienced and more self-effica cious experiment mo re with a variety of teaching strategies (Gu skey, 1988; Stein & Wang, 1988), as well as plan more (Allinder, 1994). In the past 2 decades, measures of t eachers’ sense of self-efficacy have come under scrutiny by researchers. B andura (1997, p. 3) proposed that efficacy beliefs were powerful predictors of behavio r since they were ultimately selfreferent in nature and directed toward specific tasks. Ashton and Webb (1982) applied Bandura’s social c ognitive theory to teachi ng and coined the term “personal teaching efficacy,” whic h is in common usage today. Gibson and Dembo (1984) developed t he Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) as an attempt to develop a data collecti on instrument to study teacher selfefficacy. In the past, similar instru ments have included the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI; Ri ggs & Enochs, 1990), Teacher Locus of Control (TLC; Rose & Medway, 1981), and the Responsibility for Student Achievement (RSA; Guskey, 1981). Variab ility exists between the instruments’ abilities to yield reliable sco res. However, a recent st udies indicate that the TES to be among the most reliable as a measur e of teacher self-efficacy (Coladarci &

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41 Fink, 1995; Guskey & Passaro, 1994; Tschannen -Moran et al., 1998, Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990). Pilot Study Although Leming’s (1999) work indica tes that teacher experience has some impact on teacher retention, little work has been done to determine whether a relationship exists between a teacher’s self-efficacy and a teacher’s desire to stay in the profession. Addition ally, his study shows that teachers have not been significantly affected (driven from the profession) by what he describes as the “repressive” aspects of school life (p. 5). Indeed, teachers seem to remain in the profession despite the well-docum ented shortcomings of the education system. In the spring of 2000 I conducted a study to examine whether there was a link between HCPS secondary social studi es teachers’ self-efficacy and their desire to remain in the profession; this study served as a pilot study for the present research. Method To determine whether a relationship exists between secondary social studies teachers’ self-efficacy and t heir desire to stay in the profession, I developed a 22-item survey (see Appendix A based on t he study conducted by Ashton and Webb, 1986), to be administered to Hillsborough County secondary social studies teachers. The survey questions ranged from simple demographic data (age, experience, degree le vel, subjects taught) to questions related to their attitudes toward their teaching. I also developed twenty formal interview questions (see Appendix A) to ask each t eacher. However, it should be noted that the interviews often deviated from the formal structure intended, but this

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42 often led to interesting (and possibly useful) data. The interviews were taperecorded. My expectations were that the su rveys and interviews would somehow correlate. With teacher scarcity alr eady being felt and even greater shortages looming on the horizon, the expectation was that a st udy of this nature could provide useful data to HCPS as well as to me in my (then) role as a social studies department chair. Subjects of this research were high school social studies teachers selected on t he basis of proximity and availability. I interviewed and surveyed a total of 10 teachers at three separate high schools (Armwood, King, and Wharton). The teac hers that were surveyed/interviewed ranged in age from 22 to 45 years old and had from between 1 and 15 years of teaching experience. It should be noted that the ma jority of these teachers were younger (in their midto late-twenties) and had less than 5 years teaching experience. I purposefully did not interview teachers fr om my own school nor did I expand this research to include teachers from other disciplines. Permission to interview the teachers was obtained first from the school district’s supervisor of secondary social studies and then from individual schoo ls’ social studies department chairs. The interviews and surveys were held in the strictest confi dence to protect the privacy of participants. Two important items included in t he survey were based on Ashton and Webb’s (1986) study of teacher self-effi cacy. These items were as follows: 1. If I try really hard, I can get through to even the most difficult or unmotivated student.

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43 2. A teacher really can’t do much because much of a student’s motivation and performance depend on the home environment. The teachers were asked whether they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed, or strongly disagr eed with these statements. In the case of question 1 (Item 6 on the survey), a response of strongly agree or agree would indicate a positive sense of teacher self-effi cacy. Conversely, a response of agree or strongly agree with Item 2 (Item 7 on the survey) w ould tend to indicate that the teacher had a negative sense of teacher self-efficacy. Teachers were also asked to predict whether they would remain in the profession for “many years to come” and w hether they had plans to further their own education. The interview questions focused on the teachers’ current assignment, their students, and their teaching and classr oom management styles. The teachers were also asked what they thought made them an effective teacher. Finally, the interview focused on teachers’ plans for the future. Results On the basis of the survey results, this group of 10 secondary social studies teachers considered themse lves to be highly effective educators. In other words, they possessed a positive sense of teacher self-efficacy. To the first item noted above (“If I try really hard, I can get through to even the most difficult or unmotivated student”), 70% st rongly agreed and 30% agreed. To the second item (“A teacher really can’ t do much because much of a student’s motivation and performance depend on the hom e environment”), they agreed at a rate of 10% and disagreed at a rate of 90% with the idea t hat there was little

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44 that they could do to motivate students. To other selected items, they responded as shown in Table 1. Table 1 Selected Responses to the Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) Used in the Pilot Study Item no. Item Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 8 I use a variety of instructional strategies 90% 10% 9 I am able to see improvement in my students’ performance 90% 10% 13 I can’t seem to motivate my students 40% 60% 16 I find teaching social studies to be a rewarding experience 80% 20% 19 I plan to be teaching social studies for many years to come 40% 50% 10% Two other items in the survey yielded interesting results. All respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with the statements th at teachers should have more support and smaller class sizes and t hat many would leave the profession unless given more support. As a whole, these teachers consi dered themselves to be effective teachers, and some extremely effectiv e. All believed that they “make a

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45 difference” in terms of affe cting student learning. They indicated using a variety of teaching strategies in their cl assrooms and using multiple forms of assessment. All believed that their students generally had pos itive feelings toward them and their teaching. They described themselves as intense and demanding but caring. All had plans to im prove their teaching, either through staff development training or by pursui ng advanced degrees. All could describe effective teaching and ineffective teac hing in extremely clear terms. They described effective teaching as motivating, interesting, and not routine; they also supplied examples based on their own cla ssroom experience. Likewise, they found it easy to describe ineffective t eachers as unmotivated and relying heavily on seatwork and handouts. With one exception, all the teachers interviewed planned to continue teaching 5 and 10 year s into the future. The exception planned to move on to college-level teaching. When asked what they would do if they could go back in time to college and start over, all responded that they would still teach. Clearly, on the basis of the surveys and interviews, this group of teachers considered themselves to be effective teachers who planned to remain in the profession for years to co me. Moreover, I conclude that, taken together, the surveys and interviews reveal the same patte rn. In other words, both the surveys and interviews indicated that these t eachers possessed a strong sense of selfefficacy and that the majority of them planned to remain in the profession. None of the teachers interview ed mentioned money as a prim ary motivating factor, but all expressed a desire to receive traini ng to improve both their content knowledge

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46 and teaching. However, the small sample size precluded the researcher from drawing any final conclusions from the data; further studies using a larger and more varied sample needed to be conducted. Some flaws in this pilot study must be acknowledged; they include the following: 1. sample size was limited and fairly homogeneous 2. no effort was made to include “incom petent” or “ineffective” teachers in the study 3. no interviews or surveys were conducted with teachers who had left the profession 4. this study did not replicate previous work, particularly Ashton and Webb’s (1986) study. Rather, it was a modification of their efforts. Conclusions. While no previous studies that I could locate at the time the pilot study was undertaken revealed a dire ct link between teachers’ self-efficacy and a desire to remain in the profession, some conclusions can be drawn based on similar research. Indeed, teachers who possess a positive self-efficacy have been shown to have a positive effect on student learning (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Ho y, 1990a). In contrast, teachers who possess a negative self-efficacy are likely to burn out and leave the profession (Brouwers & Tomic, 1998). According to Leming (1999), teacher experience leads to a greater sense of self-effica cy and a greater likelihood of remaining in the classroom. The findings of Ross, Cous ins, and Gadalla (1996) further stated that teacher efficacy increases with ex perience and education. The pilot study

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47 also indicated that teachers who possess a positive sense of teaching efficacy and considered themselves to be effective teachers are likely to remain in the classroom. However, the t eachers featured in the study did indicate a desire to improve their teaching. It is therefore likely that, as they gain experience and more time in the classroom, their sense of self-efficacy will gr ow and they will be even more likely to continue teaching. Linking the Pilot Study to the Present Research Study The pilot study provided me with the following benefits: 1. a background on the lit erature relative to teacher self-efficacy 2. familiarity with the TES. It is my belief that this experi ence provided a fair background to understand the factors that support a positive self-e fficacy. Furthermore, the 2000 pilot study led me to expect that a teacher’s self-efficacy would be positively influenced by experience and education. The current study is intended to assess further whether training in government and civics, provided during the summer institutes sponsored by Project ELECT, positively affected secondary social studies teachers’ self-efficacy. Teacher Civics Knowledge and Teacher Self-Efficacy There is a considerable body of res earch that has explored the factors influencing teacher self-efficacy. Far less research has investigated the degree to which teacher knowledge of civics and government affects teacher selfefficacy. As noted above, a 2005 CIRCLE report (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005) revealed that students who had teachers who possessed a degree in a

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48 civics-related subject or who had parti cipated in professional development in civics knowledge scored better on civics tests than did students of teachers who possessed neither. Strong self-efficacy has been linked to positive teaching behaviors and student achievement (Tschannen -Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Likewise, researchers found that teacher self-e fficacy was strongly related to student achievement (Moore & Esselman, 1992; Ro ss, 1992). Teacher self-efficacy has also been related to student motivation (Midgley, Fieldhoffer, & Eckles, 1989) and students’ sense of self-confidence as it relates to subjec t matter (Anderson, Green, & Loewen, 1988). Tournaki and Po dell (2005) conclud ed that teachers with a positive self-efficacy were likely to have positive views of their students’ ability to learn, which in turn af fects students’ selfperception. The 2005 CIRCLE study of teacher preparation and knowledge of civics and government indicated that teacher content knowle dge, pedagogical content knowledge, and self-confidence in a given s ubject matter, all related positively to student outcomes. However, the study noted a lack of research concerning the link between student achievement and civic engagement, and teacher knowledge of civics and government. In his book, The Future of Democracy: Deve loping the Next Generation of American Citizens Peter Levine (2007) concluded that a correlation exists between students having taken classes in government and civics and the likelihood of engaging in civic activism. A 2003 poll of young people indicated that those who had taken a course in gov ernment and civics were twice as likely

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49 to vote and follow the news, and four times as likely to volunteer for a political campaign, than their peers who had no ci vics education (Kurtz, Rosenthal, & Lufkin, 2003). A 2008 CIRCLE Working Paper (Kahne & Middaugh, 2008) recommended that teachers receive profe ssional development in gover nment and civics in order to help their students become civically ac tive, particularly students who live in poverty or are members of racial minorities. The wo rking paper pointed out the following civics education best practices: 1. discuss current events 2. study issues of interest to students 3. have discussion of social and poli tical topics in an open classroom environment 4. study government, history and related social sciences 5. interact with civic role models 6. participate in afte r-school activities 7. learn about community problems and ways to respond 8. work on service learning projects 9. engage in simulations. CIRCLE noted that student s’ opportunities to participate in civic opportunities and develop a political voic e will depend in lar ge part on the civic knowledge and professional dev elopment of their teacher s. The Project ELECT grant provides the vehicle to im prove teacher cont ent and pedagogical knowledge of government and ci vics and, by extension, t heir self-efficacy.

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50 Currently, there is significant res earch regarding improving the civic engagement of youth. Feldman and Pase k (2007) concluded that school-based civics education provided a platform for promoting student po litical awareness and participation. Additionally, Gibson and Levine (2003) noted that schoolbased civics education was one of the best ways to increase civic engagement among youth. Finally, McDevitt and Kious is (2006) found that a hands-on and interactive civics curriculum generated in creased student interest in politics and an increased likelihood of participation in the political process. The link between teacher knowledge of civics and gover nment content and pedagogy, and the resulting increase in self-efficacy is a subject worthy of exploration.

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51 Chapter 3 The Policy Context and Current Environment My tenure as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies Education for HCPS has coincided with implement ation of the NCLB and the in troduction of the use of Florida’s FCAT as a tool for grading sc hools (Florida Departm ent of Education. n.d.-c). Both plans initially placed emphasis on reading and mathematics, with writing and science being added la ter. Under the premise of “what is tested is taught,” social studies in HCPS could have been relegated to the back burner. Fortunately, HCPS has maintained a relati vely strong program of social studies education, particularly at the secondary level. The 1996 version of Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for social studies (Florida Department of Education. n.d.-d) and the new standards (Florida Department of Education. n. d.-e), only recently approved by the State Board of Education, require teaching social st udies at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Courses in Americ an Government, World History, American History, and Economics are requirements for a high school diploma in our state. However, both NCLB and the FCAT, whic h do not currently measure student achievement in the social studies, have required HCPS social studies teachers to support district and site-based efforts in those areas t hat are measured, particularly reading.

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52 Over the past 5 years, HCPS social studies teachers at all levels have received professional development training in reading in the content area. The result has been that far less emphasis has been placed on improving their content knowledge in all ar eas of the social studies, including government and civics. In addition to t he reading training, social st udies educators in HCPS are currently measured against their peers, agai n primarily in their ability to improve their students’ reading comprehension as measured by the FCAT. For purposes of this policy study, it is important to review the standing of social studies, particularly at the secondar y level, in HCPS. While both district and site-based administrators value the teaching of social studies, and particularly those social studies s ubjects that potentially enhance active citizenship, it is fair to say that the recent focus on reading in the content area has yielded greater recognition for teachers of this discipline. According to Mr. Charles Fleming, Director of Staff Development for HCPS, and formerly General Director of Secondary E ducation and Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies, “unless the individual in question is a former social studies teacher, social studies is valued more for its contribution to reading gains than citizenship.” Mr. Fleming helped shape HCPS social studies in many ways during his tenure as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies. Specifically, he brought “History Alive!” into the district as an instructional tool. Developed by the Teacher’s Curriculum Institute (TCI), His tory Alive! is a product that utilizes research-based active instruction and utilizes multiple intelligence strategies to teach United States and world history (Teac her’s Curriculum Institute, n.d.). The

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53 TCI approach consists of a series of inst ructional practices that allow students of all abilities to master key social studies concepts. Their approach is characterized by eight features. Lessons and activities are based on five wellestablished theories: Understanding by De sign, Nonlinguistic Representation, Multiple Intelligences, Cooperative In teraction, and Spiral Curriculum. TCI has recently introduced “Government Alive!,” which is being introduced into HCPS under the Project ELECT grant. Both History Alive! and Government Alive! have strong reading, writ ing, and critical thinking components, skills that are measured by the FCAT. Additionally, Mr. Fleming, and subsequent social studies supervisors, including myse lf, have stressed reading in the content area. In particular, the district has made a huge investment in Project Creating Independence Through Student-O wned Strategies (Project CRISS, n.d.) to improve the level of reading instructi on in the district. While gauging the effectiveness of these program s is beyond the scope of this research, suffice it to say that HCPS social studies teacher s have generally adopted these teaching strategies into their instruction, contribut ing to the perception that social studies educators and courses have helped improve student reading. Kathy Taylor, my immediate predece ssor as social studies supervisor, echoed this characterization of social studies teachers supporting reading improvement. In particular she pointed out that reading in the content area improves the ability of students to more readily gain knowledge of social studies concepts and that our teacher s saw this (or acquiesce d to it) early on.

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54 There are data to indicate that the perception described above has some basis in reality. For example, accord ing to the HCPS Office of Assessment and Accountability (2007, 2008), st udents enrolled in required social studies courses such as government and world history make gains in reading at rates that exceed state and district averages. This same phenomenon is reflected in social studies electives such as Law Studies, Psychol ogy, Sociology, and so forth, where the gain is even greater. This has led to the view among district and site-based administrators that student s enrolled in social studies required courses and electives make reading gains. I use the word perception because there is no data that can specifically link enrollment in social studies courses with reading gains. In other words, students in these courses are also enrolled in mathematics, language arts, and science, an d research has not been conducted by the district to determine which of these courses has the greatest impact. However, because HCPS social st udies teachers have demonstrated a willingness to adopt instructi onal strategies that prom ote reading, a factor of which administrators are acutely aware, they are viewed as contributing to the district’s goal of improving reading. At a time when social studies courses in many districts in Florida are in decline, particularly in the area of electives, HCPS has seen strong growth. In fact, whil e student population growth has been flat and no new high schools have been opene d in the past 3 years and the discipline has seen only a handful of reti rements, secondary social studies has continued to add new teachers, 22 in the 2008–09 school year alone. As has been noted throughout this dissertation, soci al studies teachers can be financially

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55 compensated based on the student perform ance of the FCAT and resulting school grade, as well as via MAP results (Florida Department of Education, n.d.a). District-level administrators have s upported social studies education by funding professional development, usually in the form of district-created content and pedagogical workshops, and by funding textbook purchases. HCPS social studies has received an equitable share of resources vis--vis other disciplines. As has been described above, school-based administrators have generally been supportive of the social studies This manifests itself in allowing teachers to offer electives and to attend training during the school day. Again, the perception that social studies teacher s contribute to gains in student reading comprehension have contributed to th is support. The HCPS Office of Assessment and Accountability (2007, 2008) indicated tha t, on average, 59% of 9th graders and 53% of 10th graders m ade gains in reading in 2006 as measured by the FCAT. Students enroll ed in ninth-grade regular government classes made gains of 45% and 68% fo r honors government. Tenth-grade regular world history students gained 39% in reading and honors students gained 59%. Ninth and 10th graders in social studies electives made much more significant gains in reading than the dist rict average. Some examples include Advanced Placement Human Geography at 74%, Advanced Placement World History at 68%, Psychology at 52%, So ciology at 61%, and Philosophy at 56%. Reading gains in some high schools were even more pronounced. For example, 78% of students enrolled in 9th-gr ade government honors at Newsome High

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56 School made reading gains co mpared with the district average of 68%, and 69% of 10th-grader world history honors students at Sickles High School made reading gains compared with the di strict average of 59%. These numbers are not lost on sc hool-based administrators who have come to the conclusion, on the basis of si milar results from t he recent past, that students in social studies courses, parti cularly honors, Advanced Placement, and elective courses, studying a subject in which they were interested, were more likely to read in that course and, by ex tension, make reading gains as measured by the FCAT. Both district-level and school-based administrators, admittedly more focused on reading than content, perce ived the need to have professionally trained and qualified teachers in front of social studies classrooms. Schoolbased administrators in particular are ca reful to create class schedules where engaging and motivating teachers are a ssigned to those 9th and 10th graders who will be taking the FCAT. While th is practice is not applied uniformly throughout the district, it is safe to say that schoolbased administrators are at least aware that they shoul d schedule teachers in such a way as to positively impact FCAT reading scores. Put anot her way, they do schedule less than stellar social studies teachers into classes where they will do the least harm relative to FCAT test scores. As described above, the need to re cruit and retain highly qualified teachers of government and civics is ac ute in Hillsborough County Public

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57 Schools (HCPS) as well as in Florida as a whole. The following illustrate a number of factors that contri bute to this circumstance: 1. the emergence of an educationa l environment where high-stakes testing is tied to school gr ading and teacher compensation 2. the need to supply the content training and pedagogic al strategies necessary for teachers to confidently teach civics and government 3. the broader societal goal to t each students the skills and knowledge that will allow them to function as effective citizens in our representative democracy. For HCPS, the Project ELECT grant has provided an opportunity to address the need to provide highly qualified so cial studies teachers. Specifically, it provides the district the opportunity to engage K–12 social studies teachers in professional development tr aining that will increase their knowledge of civics and government content, as well as supplying them with engaging teaching strategies and resources. Doing so is expected to have the benefit of increasing student knowledge of civics and government; this sh ould then result in their performing better academically, as measured by end-of -course exams, and potentially, by a social studies FCAT. It is anticipated that students who have more knowledge of civics and government are more likely to be engaged as citizens. In 2005, CIRCLE reported that teacher professional developm ent in civic knowledge and understanding related positivel y with students’ civic kn owledge (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005). Better student perfo rmance benefits the schools and the district in the sense that the st ate now grades schools based on student

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58 achievement, and student achievement is increasingly tied to teacher compensation. This, in a sense, bec omes a cumulative process with better prepared teachers providing better in struction to students who perform measurably better, resulting in better gr ades for schools and districts and, thus, greater teacher compensation. In a la rger sense, societ y then benefits from a more informed and engaged citizenry. However, the current educational environment of high stakes testing, which impacts teacher compensation, deserves to be addressed. With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The often controversial meas ure represented a sweeping overhaul of elementary and secondary education in the Un ited States. The central goal of NCLB is to ensure that every student will be performing on grade level by the 2013–14 school year. To measure progr ess toward that goal, the U.S. Department of Education requires states to develop benchmarks and tests to make sure every child is learning. To t hat end, Florida has created the A++ plan for education (Florida Department of Educat ion. n.d.-f), whic h is described in greater detail below. Among its many features, the NCLB law: 1. identifies where impr ovement in learning is needed on the basis of data disaggregated by student subgroups 2. alerts parents to student, school, and district performance and provides them options if their child’s school fails to measure up

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59 3. emphasizes researched-based e ducational programs to promote student achievement, and, import ant for this policy study, 4. requires that students be taught by “highly qua lified” and well-trained teachers who possess deep content knowledge of the courses they teach (U.S. Department of Education, 2004). NCLB requires each subgroup (all ethni c groups, students with disabilities, students learning English, and economically disadvantaged students) in schools, districts, and the state as a whole to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in reading, mathematics, writ ing, and graduation rate. Schools that do not make enough progress 2 years in a row are in need of improvement and must provide alternatives to parents—such as transfers to other schools or participation in a different program within the school. Sc hools that need improvement 2 years in a row (i.e., do not make AYP for 3 consecut ive years) must provide tutoring to students in the schools that don’t make AYP (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-c). The message for schools and district s is that they must improve student performance or risk losing fundi ng, a feature of the legi slation that some have criticized as punitive. Much debate, both in political and educational circles, has surrounded the implementation of NCLB, and describing this debate exceeds the scope of this research. Suffice it to say that NCL B has altered the “ru les of the game” governing teaching and learning in Florida and across the nation.

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60 NCLB requires that states develop pl ans to guarantee that all students, by the 2013–14 school year, are performing on grade level. Florida’s plan to address this requirement is the A+, and the subsequent A++ plan. Under the A++ plan (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-f), school grades are based on how well students have mastered the Suns hine State Standards—the skills that Florida teachers have determined children must learn at each grade level—as measured by the Florida Comprehensiv e Assessment Test (FCAT). Student scores are classified into five achievement levels, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Schools earn points based on three factors: how well students are doing, how much progress they are making (learning gains), and how much progress struggling students are making in reading and mathematics (Florida Department of Educat ion, n.d.-c). Though not currently tested under the A+ + plan (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-f), a social studies FCAT is a looming possibility. Senate Bill 2570, introduced during the 2008 legislativ e session, called for the Florida Department of Education to “develop and administer a statewide assessment for social studies that includes an emphas is on the integration of economics education and civics education (emphasis added) as required in state statute 1001.03(1)” (SB 2570). While the bill di d not pass during the 2008 legislative session, a social studies FCAT, which w ould incorporate an emphasis on civics, could become a reality in the foreseeable future. Additionally, former U.S. S enator Bob Graham and Congressman Lou Frey have established institutes for t he study of government and civics at the

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61 University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, respectively (Bob Graham Center for Public Service, 2008; Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida, 2008). Both institutes have as their mission teaching government and ci vics to Florida’s youth, and both gentlemen have called for incl usion of those subjects as part of the state’s FCAT assessment. Thus, it appears that in Florida, the s ubject of social studies, previously ignored as an FCAT-assessed subject, may now be given more attention. At the very least, it appears that end-of-course assessments for social studies may soon be required, as called for in SB 2570 a bove. Social studies is therefore likely to take its place along with readi ng, math, and science in the high-stakes world of FCAT testing. Moreover, it is likely that government and civics will be among the first of the social studies to be assessed. For HCPS social studies teachers, th is means that any self-perceived deficiency in their ability to teach governm ent and civics could contribute to their being less than confident about teaching these subjects. Recall that at the outset of this research it was noted that in HCPS, many teachers ent er the profession with little or no coursework in civi cs or government-related subjects. Many of these new teachers fi nd themselves teaching American Government, a course taught to ninth graders in HCPS as a requirement for high-school graduation in Florida. The co mbination of (a) teaching a subject of which he or she has little knowledge to (b) a group of students who potentially require the most attention can contribute to a teacher feeling that his or her

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62 efforts are less than effective. This is par ticularly stressful to teachers at a time when accountability and high-stakes te sting can impact teacher pay. NCLB declares that for teachers to be “highly qualified they must possess a bachelor’s degree, obtain full state certification for the subject(s) they teach, and demonstrate subject-matter know ledge” (usually by passing a state certification exam). NCLB has forced districts across the state to focus on recruiting and retaining the very best teacher s. Unfortunately, for subjects such as math and science, this has proved diffi cult because a shortage of traditionally trained teachers of those subjects exists Districts have been required to develop plans to recruit and to provide on-the-job training to teacher candidates of those subjects. These Alternative Certificati on Programs (ACP) provide a pathway for prospective teachers to meet the “hi ghly qualified” status demanded by NCLB. Fortunately for HCPS, there is no such shortage of traditionally trained social studies teachers, meaning teacher s who have graduated from a college of education and held an internship. The ma jority of secondary social studies teachers in the district’s classrooms co me from traditional programs, such as those available at the University of Sout h Florida (USF) and University of Tampa. However, as noted above, m any of the traditionally tr ained secondary social studies teachers in HCPS may have a lim ited background in government and civics. A limited background in this area wo uld be significant, given research that indicates that students of teachers who either possess a degree in a civicsrelated subject or who had participated in professional development in civics

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63 knowledge, scored better on civics test s than did students of teachers who possessed neither (Purta, Ba rber, & Richardson, 2005). Moreover, Florida’s current Meri t Award Program (MAP; Florida Department of Education, n.d.-a) has added a degree of pressure to district social studies teachers because teacher pay is now tied to student achievement on district tests, including American Government (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-b). Using the reasoning described above, HCPS secondary social studies teachers who feel more self-efficacious because they have received training in civics and government-rela ted content knowledge and pedagogy may be in a better position to help students achieve gr eater understanding of those subjects. Student success as measured by end-of-cour se exams and, potentially, a social studies FCAT exam would contribute to better school grades under NCLB and the A++ plan, as well as to greater financial compensati on for teachers. Summary NCLB and Florida’s A++ plan have alter ed the environment of education. Current high-stakes tests, such as the FC AT, require districts to focus attention on staffing schools with highly qualifie d teachers who can help students achieve measurable learning gains. Fortunately for HCPS, well-prepared teachers are available from local colleges of education. However, few of these teachers, as well as few of those already serving in HCPS high schools, have a background in government and civics-related content. This lack of content knowledge and pedagogical skills can contribute to a dimini shed sense of teaching self-efficacy.

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64 This lack comes at a time when calls fo r the expansion of government and civics education is coming from a variety of source s; this is also a time when teaching is primarily assessed on the basis of student achievement and when teacher compensation is tied to that student achievement. Secondary social studies teachers find themselves at the nexus of these converging trends. Fortunately, the Project ELECT grant provides the opportunity for content and pedagogical traini ng, as well as classroom resources to improve teacher confidenc e in these subjects. For the present study, it was anticipated that statistically significant gains would be made concerning teacher content knowledge of government and civi cs, as measured by the NAEP, and teacher self-efficacy, as measured by the TES.

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65 Chapter 4 Research Plan and Results As stated previously, Alfred Bandura (1997) described self-efficacy as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” Thus, teac her self-efficacy relates to a teacher’s beliefs that he or she can help students learn. Teacher efficacy (rather than self efficacy) refers to whether or not teachers are effective in helping students learn in a measurable fashion (Ashton & W ebb, 1986). If teachers possess selfefficacy, they believe they can influence student learning, whether or not this is the case. Teacher efficacy confirms t hat teachers can in fact influence student learning in a measurable way. Research indicates that a teac her’s sense of selfefficacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & McLaughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). For the purposes of this study, a 22item version of Gibson and Dembo’s (1984) Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES; a 30-it em measure of teacher self-efficacy) was utilized. The TES has been used to meas ure teachers’ beliefs in their ability to affect student learning. The reliabi lity of Gibson and Dembo’s TES has been well documented. Studies indicate that the TES is among the most reliable measures of teacher self-efficacy (C oladarci & Fink, 1995; Guskey & Passaro,

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66 1994; Tschannen-Moran et al., 1998, Wool folk & Hoy, 1990a). In their 1990 study of the TES, Woolfolk and Hoy det ermined a .82 reliability score for the personal teaching efficacy (PE) scale and .74 for the general teaching efficacy (TE) scale based on a Cronbach’s alpha. A more detailed discussion of PE and TE appears below. Using factor analysis t hey found the instrument to be a valid tool for predicting instructional behav iors (Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990a). Factor analysis is used to uncover the dimensi ons of a set of variables. It reduces attribute space from a larger number of variables to a smaller number of factors and as such is a "non-dependent" procedure. More recent re search extended a critical evaluation of the T ES, finding it to be a reliabl e measure of teacher selfefficacy and one of the most widely used tools (Henson, Kogan, & Vacha Haase, 2001). Overall, the TES has become wi dely recognized as the predominant instrument used to measur e teacher self-efficacy (Ross, 1994). The researcher also has experience using this instrument to measure teacher self-efficacy and is familiar with procedural aspects of the instrument. The TES was administered to secondary social studies teachers as a preand post-test during each of three summe r workshops funded under the Project ELECT grant. Procedure The sample for this study consisted of secondary social studies teachers from high schools in the Hil lsborough County Public Sch ools (HCPS), located in Hillsborough County, Florida. The region is perhaps best known as the Tampa Bay area. HCPS is the eighth largest sc hool district in t he United States, with

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67 over 200 school sites and more than 200,000 students, ki ndergarten through adult. The district operates 25 high sc hools serving approximately 50,000 students (HCPS, 2008). There are approximately 400 teachers assigned to secondary social studies, and I supervise t hem in my role as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies Education. It is my belief that, after having part icipated in summer institutes designed to increase civics knowledge and improve instruction, high school social studies teachers will show an increase in thei r self-efficacy and will self-report an increase in their knowledge of government and civics. Participation in the summer institutes consisted of 452 K-12 so cial studies teachers; of these, 81 completed the TES. A total of 116 teachers took the satisfaction surveys. Typical teaching assignments for these teachers include “core” courses required for graduation, namely, American Governm ent, World History, American History, and Economics. Those courses are offe red in regular, honors, and Advanced Placement levels. These teachers may also teach electives that range from Psychology to Law Studies to History of the Vietnam War. For purposes of the grant and for this study, all secondary social studies teachers who attend the workshops were included in the study, r egardless of the subject or level taught. Participants were administered the TES prior to beginning the workshop and then again after the conclusion of the in stitutes. Teacher self-reported gain in civics content knowledge was asse ssed using a Project ELECT Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey adminis tered by USF. (Additionally, teachers completed the National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] High

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68 School Civics assessment prior to the in stitutes and again as a post-test to assess the overall effectiveness of t he Project ELECT grant in producing an increase in teacher content knowledge relative to government and civics.) The TES and Summer Institute Satisfaction Su rvey could be accessed online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gwplGZ8JvGFR_2bInb8wqToA_3d_ 3d. The independent variable in the study was teacher participation in the Project ELECT summer institutes. The dependent variable was teacher selfefficacy as measured by the TES, which wa s administered prior to the first day of the institute and again shortly after the institute. Teac hers were encouraged to participate in the online surveys via e-mail and also verbally by Project ELECT staff during the summer inst itutes. It was hypothesiz ed that there would be a statistically measurable increase in teachers’ self-efficacy after having participated in the institutes. Along with the TES and satisfaction survey, teachers were asked to complete a demographic questionnaire to determine the following: 1. their teaching assignment (regular honors, Advanced Placement, or a mix) 2. their level of experience 3. their degree level 4. any honors they had achieved (Teacher of the Year, National Board Certification, etc.) 5. their age, gender, and ethnicity.

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69 The TES and satisfaction survey, as well as the demographic data, were collected anonymously. Teachers were ask ed to identify themselves using their district identification, or Lawson, number. It was ant icipated that this would encourage teachers to respond c onfidently and without fear of recrimination. As noted in the introduction, a limitation to this study is that I serve as the supervisor of the secondary social studies teachers participating in the research and that this knowledge among teachers c ould influence their responses. The TES identifies two s ubsets of teacher self-efficacy: general teaching efficacy (TE) and personal teaching effica cy (PE). TE represents a teacher’s confidence that he or she can overcome ex ternal factors, such as a student’s home environment, to help stude nts learn. PE refers to a teacher’s belief that he or she can personally affect changes in students (Tournaki & Podell, 2005). Tournaki and Podell noted that incons istencies in the two subscales have emerged, leading to the development of al ternative instruments, such as the Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale (OSTES), developed by Tschannen Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001). However, they acknowledge that the TES remains in widespread use and is generally accepted (Tournaki & Podell, 2005). The TES has, in fact, become the predominant inst rument used in the study of teacher self-efficacy (Ross, 1994, p. 382). A t test for paired samples was used to compare preand post-test data collected with the TES. A one-way analysi s of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare demographic differences between t he teacher participant s. Additional standard statistical measures were utilized to interpret the raw data from this

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70 study. Tournaki and Podell ( 2005) performed this function on their data, finding that, relative to student r eading ability, teacher predicti ons of students’ academic success were influenced by perception of student ability. However, they found that students benefited from teachers with high self-efficacy because those teachers tended to be less negatively infl uenced by student characteristics. Research indicates that a teacher’s sense of self-efficacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & Mc Laughlin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Likewi se, research conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) indicated that a teacher ’s feelings concerning his or her own efficacy was one of the crucial variables associated with student achievement. Rosenthal and Jacobsen point ed out that teachers’ expectations of their own abilities (as well as that of t heir students) could play a critical role in student achievement. It was anticipated that teachers partici pating in the Project ELECT summer institutes would show a measurable incr ease in self-efficacy as measured by the TES. It was postulated that teacher gains in civics content knowledge, selfreported in the satisfaction survey, would correlate positively with gains in teacher self-efficacy. It was also postu lated that teachers wit h more experience and higher degree attainment would show a greater increase in self-efficacy than less experienced social studies teachers an d/or those with lower levels of degree attainment. Indeed, according to a study conducted by Ross, Cousins, and Gadalla (1996), teacher efficacy is stronger for experi enced teachers.

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71 Additionally, the study indicates that teachers with graduate degrees were more efficacious than those without. Their study indicated that teacher self-efficacy increased with time in the professi on and with greater education. Results Thirty-nine high school social studies teachers, 18 males and 21 females, took the online version of the TES. Seventy-eight percent of the sample was White, with the remaining 22% made up of Hispanic, Bla ck, and Multiracial individuals. Over half of the respondents reported having a Bachelor’s degree ( n = 20), while the rest had one or more post-secondary degrees. The majority ( n = 27) underwent a traditional teacher educat ion program, while 12 others utilized an alternative certification program. Thirty-four teachers held a permanent teaching certificate. T eachers reported a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 32 years of teaching experience, with a mean of 10.4 years ( SD = x). About half of the teachers ranged in age from 21 to 40, while the other half ranged from 41 to 50 or older. Courses taught by the responding teachers include 20 American Government classes, 19 World History 18 American History, 13 Economics, and 20 social studies elective courses. A one-way ANOVA was utilized to examine the difference between high school teachers’ self-efficacy before and after attending the 1-week intensive summer institute. Teachers’ mean pr e-test and post-test scores on the PE portion of the TES were virtually equiva lent: 27.3 before attending and 27.0 after the institute. There was no signifi cant difference in those scores, F (1,77) < 1. It is possible that the time period between t he pre-test and post-te st administrations

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72 was not lengthy enough to elucidate any changes in teachers’ attitude. The score of .27 on a scale of .12 to .72, with a lower number representing greater self-efficacy, indicates that these teachers were confident in their ability to bring learning gains among students both prior to and after the summer institutes. Figure 1 Mean teacher efficacy rating at pre-test and post-test. Despite the nonsignificant difference ev idenced in the statistical analysis, teachers were overwhelmingly positive in their views of their own efficacy. The table below depicts the percentage of t eachers responding to each question of the TES. To simplify the analysis, I have aggregated the moderately agree and slightly agree responses, as well as the moderately disagree and slightly disagree responses.

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73 Table 2 Teacher Responses to the Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) Scale Item Strongly Agree Moderately/ Slightly Agree Moderately/ Slightly Disagree Strongly Disagree When a student does better than usually(sic), many times it is because I exert a little extra effort. 27% 68% 4% 1% The hours in my class have little influence on students compared to the influence of their home environment. 5% 43% 41% 11% The amount a student can learn is primarily related to family background. 3% 38% 39% 21% If students aren't disciplined at home, they aren't likely to accept any discipline. 9% 44% 35% 13% I have enough training to deal with almost any learning problem. 14% 67% 19% 1% When a student is having difficulty with an assignment, I am usually able to adjust it to his/her level. 26% 72% 2% 0% When a student gets a better grade than he/she usually gets, it is usually because I found better ways of teaching that student. 17% 78% 5% 0% When I really try, I can get through to most difficult students. 21% 77% 2% 0%

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74 Table 2 (Continued) A teacher is very limited in what he/she can achieve because a student's home environment has a large influence on his/her achievement. 5% 43% 43% 9% Teachers are not a very powerful influence on student achievement when all factors are considered. 5% 6% 59% 30% When the grades of my students improve, it is usually because I found more effective approaches. 16% 77% 6% 1% If a student masters a new concept quickly, this might be because I knew the necessary steps in teaching that concept. 14% 80% 6% 0% If parents would do more for their children, I could do more. 20% 57% 17% 6% If a student did not remember information I gave in a previous lesson, I would know how to increase his/her retention in the next lesson. 14% 80% 6% 0% The influences of a student’s home experiences can be overcome by good teaching. 10% 81% 8% 0% If a student in my class becomes disruptive and noisy, I feel assured that I know some techniques to redirect him/her quickly. 25% 74% 1% 0%

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75 Table 2 (Continued) Even a teacher with good teaching abilities may not reach many students. 4% 49% 41% 6% If one of my students couldn't do a class assignment, I would be able to accurately assess whether the assignment was at the correct level of difficulty. 15% 81% 4% 0% If I really try hard, I can get through to even the most difficult or unmotivated students. 16% 77% 7% 0% When it comes right down to it, a teacher really can't do much because most of a student's motivation and performance depends on his or her home environment. 1% 23% 62% 14% Some students need to be placed in slower groups so they are not subjected to unrealistic expectations. 6% 48% 40% 6% My teacher training program and/or experience has given me the necessary skills to be an effective teacher. 25% 69% 6% 0% In addition to completing the TES, 116 high school teachers also filled out a satisfaction survey (see Appendix D) before and after attending the week-long summer institute. While just over 60% of high school teachers indicated their knowledge of civics prior to the institute was “Very Good” or “Excellent,” that number increased to over 90% after the institut e. It is also interesting to note that

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76 around 90% of teachers rated the institute as “Very G ood” or “Excellent,” and 90% also stated that they would re commend the institute to a friend (see Appendix D for full survey results). Alt hough it was not possible to delineate any significant trends, the data clearly indica te that high school teachers welcomed the new and innovative professional develop ment opportunities afforded to them through Project ELECT. Future resear ch should consider spacing out the administration of the TES over a longer period of time, to give teachers’ newfound content knowledge a better chanc e to impact classroom practices. Summary Gibson and Dembo’s (1984) TES has been found to be an accurate measure of teacher self-effi cacy. This instrument wa s administered as a preand post-test to HCPS social studies t eachers participating in one of three summer institutes sponsored under the Project ELECT grant. It was hypothesized that a statistica lly measurable increase in teacher self-efficacy would occur on the basis of their having participated in content and pedagogy training relative to government and civics. Likewise, teachers were asked to self-report an increase in civics content knowledge, as measured by the Project ELECT Summer Satisfaction Surv ey administered by USF. It was expected that these two factors—teac her self-reported in crease in content knowledge and self-efficacy—would correlate positively. In their 2005 report, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) noted that teacher professi onal development in civics knowledge

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77 related positively with students’ civics knowledge (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005). In sum, statistical analysis of the T ES results revealed that there was no significant difference in teacher scores before and after the su mmer institute, but it is possible that the time peri od between the pre-test and post-test administrations was not lengthy enough to elucidate any changes in teachers’ attitude. Despite the non-significant difference evidenced in the statistical analysis, teachers were overwhelmingly pos itive in their views of their own efficacy. Although it wa s not possible to delineate any significant trends, the data clearly indicate that high school teachers welcomed the new and innovative professional development opportunities afforded to th em through Project ELECT. An interesting subject for future st udy is the discrepancy between teachers self-efficacy, which was high in both the pilot study and this research, and actual teacher content knowledge and student performance. Data on teacher and student content knowledge, as measured by the NAEP, will be available in the latter stages of the Pr oject ELECT grant. Last, the present research provided a valuable opportunity for me, in my dual roles as Supervisor of Secondary Soci al Studies and Project Director of the Project ELECT grant, to evaluate the effe ctiveness of the training opportunities and resources funded by the grant. Additio nally, the research also functioned as a policy study enabling me, as well as other administrators and teachers in HCPS, to make wise decisions on fu ture staff development and curriculum development in an era of limit ed budgets and high-stakes testing.

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78 Chapter 5 Conclusions, Implications, Summar y of Findings and Policy Decisions Policy Challenge The mission statement of Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) states that the district will strive “[t]o provide an education that enables each student to excel as a successful and res ponsible citizen.” Few would argue the value of such a goal, and most would agree that fostering responsible citizenship is an important duty for HC PS secondary social studies teachers. According to the National Council for the Social Studies (n.d.), “Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectua l skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenshi p in a participatory democracy.” Likewise, the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Grades 9–12 social studies asserts in the Civics and Government Strand, Standar d 2, that students will “Evaluate the roles, rights, and responsibilities of United States citizens and determine methods of active participation in soci ety, government, and the political system (Florida Department of E ducation. n.d.-e). This policy study contributed to an understanding of the types of professional growth activities that improve teacher self-confidence to teach challenging subjects and helped determi ne the future allocation of resources relative to teaching secondary social studies in Hillsborough County Public

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79 Schools (HCPS), the eighth largest school di strict in the United States. An important implication and re sult of this study consisted of a change in HCPS secondary social studies professional dev elopment policy from an emphasis on promoting literacy strategies, or reading in the content area, to a focus on improving social studies teacher content knowledge. Additionally, the study describes the culture of change in the distri ct in an era of high-stakes testing and accountability. Research determined whethe r secondary social studies teachers increased their self-efficacy after participating in civic knowledge and engagement activities. Secondary social st udies teachers were administered a version of Gibson & Dembo’s (1984) T eacher Efficacy Scale (TES) at the beginning and end of summer institutes in civics and government. A one-way analysis of variance of the TES result s revealed no significant difference in teacher preand post-test scores. Howeve r, teacher perception of their efficacy was high and scores from a Summer In stitute Satisfaction Survey clearly indicated that high school teachers welc omed the new innovative professional development opportunities afforded to them through the summer institutes. The study was conducted under the Project E ducating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT) grant, the goal of which was to expand the civic knowledge of the district’s student s and teachers. Context of the Problem According to the 2005 CIRCLE repor t (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005), students who had teachers who either possessed a degree in a civicsrelated subject or who had participated in professional development in civic

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80 knowledge, scored better on tests of civic knowledge than did students of teachers who possessed neither. Many secondary social studies teachers come to HCPS high schools without degrees in civics-related subjects (government, political science, etc.) and may have taken only one or two classes in the subject during their teacher preparation programs. Many of these new teachers find themselves teaching American Government, a course typically taught to ninth graders in HCPS as a Florida requirement for high school graduat ion. Many teachers feel that their efforts are less than effective, as they ar e teaching a subject in which they often have little knowledge, to a group of st udents who potentially require the most attention. This is particularly stressful for teachers at a time when accountability and high-stakes testing c an impact teacher pay. The Florida Department of Education first introduced the Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) plan to compens ate teachers who are able to help students achieve learning gains, and late r replaced it with the Merit Award Program (MAP), effective March 2007 (Florida Department of Education, n.d.-a). The HCPS plan includes the use of st udent achievement on district tests, including American Government, to ev aluate and compensate high school social studies teachers (Florida Departm ent of Education, n.d.-b). In addition to teacher compensation bei ng tied to student performance, the State of Florida has explor ed the idea of a social studies Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) joining those alread y in place for reading, math, writing, and science. State Senate Bill 2570, introduced during the 2008 legislative

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81 session, called for the Florida Departm ent of Education to “develop and administer a statewide assessment for soci al studies that includes an emphasis on the integration of economics education and civics education (emphasis added) as required in state statute 1001.03(1)” (SB 2570). While the bill was not approved, a social studies FCAT, which would incorporate an emphasis on civics, could become a reality in the near future. Finally, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and the reauthorization of the El ementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) call for “highly qualified” teachers in U.S. classrooms. The law requires that teachers of core subjects, including social studies, be highly qualified. This status is determined based on three criteria: (a) t he teacher has a bachelor’s degree or higher, (b) he or she has achieved full st ate certification, and (c) he or she demonstrates knowledge in the subjects ta ught. To summarize the goal of these measures, U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret S pellings, stated that, "we know nothing helps a child learn as much as a great teacher. Great teachers are helping us reach our goal of having every child doing grade-level work by 2014" (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). In a s peech delivered to the Florida State Legislature in Tallahassee in January of 2008, Spellings called for the reauthorization of NCLB, rema rking that “Great teachers are critical to all this [NCLB and Florida’s student achievem ent gains] and to improving student learning. We need to do a better job of recruiting and preparing good teachers and getting them to where they're needed most” (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001).

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82 Florida’s revised plan for highly qua lified teachers (HQT) recognizes that the state faces a challenge re cruiting and retaining these individuals. The state’s HQT Revised Plan (2006) stated that: With the highest in-migration growth ra te of all states, a steadily growing and diverse student population, and a state constitutional amendment requiring sweeping reduction of class size at all grade levels, Florida continues to face substantial challenges in its efforts to ensure that all students have access to highly qualifi ed teachers… schools that are not making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progre ss as measured under NCLB) have a higher percentage of not highly qualif ied teachers (NHQT) classes than for all schools in the grouping. At the state level, school classifications with the most acute needs for teacher quality include secondary high-poverty schools (16.2% NHQT), secondary highpoverty schools not making AYP (16.1% NHQT), secondary schools not making AYP (13.1% NHQT), high-poverty school s not making AYP (12.9% NHQT), and high-minority schools not making AYP (12.9% NHQT). However, it should be noted that there are other classifications that also have more than 10 percent of core classes taught by teachers who ar e not highly qualified (No Child Left Behind Act, 2001). Problem In this current environment, it is va luable for training and recruitment of highly qualified teachers, as well as re source allocation, to examine whether teacher self-efficacy plays a role in student academic achievement. Social

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83 studies teachers can also benefit from su ch an examination by learning whether their efficacy and efforts contribute to st udent achievement. Moreover, teachers could benefit from the k nowledge that their efforts might be significantly financially rewarded on the basis of student achievement. Students would benefit from increased knowledg e of civics, leading to more active citizenship and a greater potential of passing a social studies FCAT examination that may well be a graduation requirement in the near future. In this era of high-stakes testing and accountability, HCPS site-based and district administrators benef it from knowing to w hat degree professional development activities relative to government and civics im prove a teacher’s ability to teach those subjects and to what degree they improve student academic performance. As noted above, t here is an underlying societal goal of increasing student civic engagement and par ticipation in our democracy. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this policy study was to determine if secondary social studies teachers in a large urban school district, namely Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), dem onstrated an increase in their sense of personal teaching efficacy after participating in civic knowledge and engagement activities. Research Questions Do secondary social studies teachers in HCPS, who have participated in training to improve their knowledge of civics and government, gain a greater degree of self-efficacy in relation to their teaching? In addition to exploring this question, this study addresses the following:

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84 1. How has the current environm ent of high-stakes testing and accountability shaped the teaching of government and civics in HCPS? 2. How have site-based and district administrators supported and altered the teaching of government and civics in this district? 3. What is the role of Project ELECT in transforming and improving the teaching of government and civics in HCPS? 4. Do teachers participating in Project ELECT and this study feel that they have adequate training in civics and government? 5. What is the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and training, experience, and degree attainment? 6. Can Project ELECT and other district initiatives improve the teaching of government and civics and how can this knowledge improve strategic decision making relative to teacher training and allocation of resources? Project ELECT, and the more than $2 milli on in funds that accompanied it, provided HCPS social studies teachers wit h a unique, possibly once in a career, opportunity to improve the teaching of government and civics in our district. While improvements in teacher and st udent content knowledge relative to government and civics will be assessed during the later stages of the grant, the research described above sought to det ermine whether participation by HCPS secondary social studies teachers in su mmer civics institutes improved their perception of their ability to teach that subject. Pu t another way, the research sought to answer the question of whether te acher self-efficacy for the teaching of

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85 civics improved as a result of their partici pation in the institut es. In addition, the research served as a policy study to det ermine the degree to which professional development that was focused on cont ent knowledge and pedagogy could take a more central role for HCPS secondary soci al studies teachers, supplanting the reading in the content area training that had been the focus of t eacher training in the recent past. The decision on whether to focus less on reading and more on social studies content, in general, and civics, in par ticular, comes at a critical time. Under Florida’s A++ plan, No Child Le ft Behind, and the Merit Award Program, teachers are increasingly held accountable fo r, and their compensation is tied to, improving student academic performance. Also, the Flori da State Board of Education voted in December 2008 to adopt the next generation of social studies standards. The standards, which will not go in to full effect until 2012, are much more detailed than the original developed in 1996. In particular, these standards with much more detailed benchmarks for st udent knowledge, require teachers to possess a greater degree of content kno wledge of government and civics. Finally, while there is currently no formal FCAT assessment of student knowledge relative to the soci al studies, recent initiatives such as the introduction of SB 2570 during the 2008 Florid a legislative session indicate that social studies subjects may soon be tested. Combined with support from influential individuals such as former U.S. Senator Bob Graham and Congressman Lou Frey and the overall interest in politics generated by the 2008 election, it is possible that government and civics will be among the first so cial studies subjects assessed.

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86 As was pointed out in the introducti on, many secondary social studies teachers come to HCPS high schools withou t degrees in civics-related subjects (government, political science, etc.) and may have taken only one or two classes in the subject during thei r teacher preparation program s. Many of these new teachers find themselves teaching Amer ican Government, a course typically taught to ninth graders in HCPS as a Florida requirement for high school graduation. Many teachers feel that their efforts are less than effective, as they are teaching a subject in which they o ften have little knowledge, to a group of students who potentially require the most attention. This is particularly stressful for teachers at a time when accountabili ty and high-stakes testing can impact teacher pay. As has been cited in this dissertat ion, Alfred Bandura (1997) described self-efficacy as “the belief in one’s c apabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” In other words, when applied to teaching, self-efficacy relates to a teacher’s beliefs that he or she can help students learn. If t eachers possess self-efficacy, th ey believe that they can influence student learning. The present study focused on teacher self-efficacy because research indicates that a teacher’s self-effi cacy can bring about success in student learning (Berman & McLaugh lin, 1977; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske, Michayluk, & Randhawa, 1988; Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990a). Likewise, research conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) indicated t hat a teacher’s feelings concerning self-efficacy is one of the crucial variables associated with student achievement. Rosenthal and

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87 Jacobsen pointed out that a teacher’s expec tations of his or her own abilities (as well as that of the student s) can play a critical role in student achievement. Additionally, a strong sense of self-effi cacy has been linked to positive teaching behaviors and student achievement (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Likewise, researchers found that teacher self-efficacy was strongly related to student achievement (Moore & Esselman, 1992; Ross, 1992). Teacher self-efficacy has also been related to st udent motivation (Midgley Fieldhoffer, & Eckles, 1989) and students’ sense of self -confidence as it relates to subject matter (Anderson, Green, & Loewen, 1988). Tournaki and Podell (2005) concluded that teachers with a positive sense of self-efficacy were likely to have positive views of their students’ ability to learn, which in turn affects students’ self-perception. Relative to the teaching governm ent and civics, a 2005 CIRCLE report (Purta, Barber, & Richardson, 2005) rev ealed that students who had teachers who possessed a degree in a civics-relat ed subject or who had participated in professional development in civics kno wledge scored better on civics tests than did students of teachers who possessed neither. The 2005 CIRCLE study of teacher preparation and k nowledge of civics and gov ernment indicated that teacher content knowledge, pedagogical content knowle dge, and self-confidence in a given subject matter all related posit ively to student outcomes. In his book, The Future of Democracy: Developing t he Next Generation of American Citizens Peter Levine (2007) concluded that a co rrelation exists between students having

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88 taken classes in government and civics and the likelihood of engaging in civic activism. With new standards, potential new highstakes testing, and secondary social studies teachers who could arguabl y benefit from incr eased professional development in teaching government and civics, the current policy environment can be summed up by t he following points: 1. New social studies standards with mu ch more detailed expectations for what students should know and be abl e to do are forthcoming and will require social studies teachers to expand their content knowledge and pedagogical skills. 2. Teacher and school accountabi lity, based on student academic performance, will continue to play a ke y role in teacher compensation. 3. Social studies will likely join the ranks of subjects formally tested in Florida in the foreseeable future, with civics and government being among the first. 4. Many social studies teachers in our district enter the profession with little formal training in civics and go vernment, in particular, and the other social studies disciplines, in general. 5. The following question persists: Wh ile HCPS secondary social studies is perceived as being supportive of school and district efforts to improve student reading scores as measured by the FCAT, would a shift to content and pedagogical traini ng risk that positive perception?

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89 It is important to address the final point first, particularly since the steady growth of social studies courses, es pecially electives, has been tied to schoolbased and district administrator percept ions that social studies has been important in improving st udent reading scores. Any change in that perception could run the risk of social studies declini ng in the number of course offerings in the district. An HCPS repor t (2008b) indicates that 59% of ninth graders and 53% of tenth graders made r eading gains at all levels. Ninth and tenth graders enrolled in social studies courses, par ticularly honors, Advanced Placement, and elective courses made gains at rates exce eding the district average according to another HCPS report (2008a). That being the case, at least in the near term, social studies is likely to maintain it s reputation as having a positive impact on student reading performance as measured by the FCAT. As to the other points impacting the poli cy decision, it is safe to say that teacher accountability and compensation, tied to student performance on highstakes tests, will remain a factor with which to be dealt. With new standards coming into play, social studies teachers are likely to feel less than efficacious, or confident, in their ability to teach cour ses in which they have had little or no formal training. This lack of confidenc e will likely increase among social studies teachers as a whole in HCPS as older teachers retire and are replaced by younger, less experienced teachers. Complicating all of this is the fact that Florida is in the midst of a budget crisis and that the funding for public education, in general, and teacher professional development, in particular, will be increasingly difficult to acquire.

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90 Any decision to alter staff development goals and to purchase teaching resources will have to take into account this difficult economic environment. The funding from Project ELEC T allowed for greatly expanded opportunities for secondary social studies teachers to gain valuable content and pedagogical knowledge and resources for the teac hing of government and civics. Unfortunately, the same level of funding does not appear to be on the immediate horizon for similar, c ontinued efforts. Policy Decision: Focus on Content Training Of the 116 secondary social studies teachers who participated in the Project ELECT Summer Institute Satisfac tion Survey administered after each of the three summer institutes, over 60% of respondents indicated before the institutes that their kno wledge of civics was “Very G ood” or “Excellent”; that number increased to over 90% after the institut e. It is also interesting to note that around 90% of teachers ra ted the institute as “Very G ood” or “Excellent” and that 90% also stated that they would re commend the institute to a friend. Unfortunately, the Teacher Efficacy Scal e administered both prior and after the institutes failed to show any increase in teacher self-efficacy as a result of the trainings. As was noted in Chapter IV, it is possible that the time period between the pre-test and post-test administrati ons was not lengthy enough to elucidate any changes in teachers’ attitude. T eacher participants considered themselves highly self-efficacious both prior to and after the summer institutes. This assurance was mirrored in the less formal pilot research data on teacher selfefficacy which indicated that thos e teachers who parti cipated had a strong

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91 degree of confidence in their ability to t each social studies. Although it was not possible to delineate any significant trends regarding self-efficacy, the data from the Project ELECT Summer Inst itute Satisfaction Survey cl early indicate that high school teachers welcomed the new and i nnovative professional development opportunities afforded to them through Project ELECT. On the basis of the educational environment described above, coupled with newer and less experienced teachers en tering the ranks of HCPS secondary social studies, teachers’ overall sense of positive self-efficacy may see a decline. If that becomes the case, one way to in crease secondary social studies teacher self-efficacy may be to provide meaningful professional development in content and pedagogy, exactly like that prov ided by Project ELECT. As Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies, I face the challenge of providing such meaningful pr ofessional development in a time of tight budgets. The experience thus far with Projec t ELECT has shown that teachers will enthusiastically participate in training that they perceive adds to their content and pedagogical knowledge and that pays them a professional stipend to attend. With new standards coming into play and high-stakes test ing a feature of the educational environment, it is important to prepare so cial studies teachers for the challenges they will face. Specifical ly, secondary social studies professional development will need to shift from a fo cus on reading in the content area to social studies content spec ifically, not just for gover nment and civics, but for all disciplines. This will require the identif ication of funding s ources, particularly government grants, and the ex pansion of partnerships, such as the one already

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92 established with the Universi ty of South Florida. Also, it will require that secondary social studies teachers be mindf ul of the positive perception they enjoy among school-based and district adminis trators and that they continue to actively support whole-school effort s to improve student achievement. While funding these efforts may be a difficult challenge for many social studies disciplines, particularly those el ectives such as psychology or sociology which are not addressed by the new gener ation of Sunshine State Standards, the task may be easier for government and ci vics. In the current political environment and in light of the 2008 election, government and civics have been given greater attention. In a recent conversation wit h Dr. Doug Dobson, director of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Universi ty of Central Florida, he indicated that former U.S. Senator Bob Graham would continue the push for civics to be tested on the state level. Likewise, Senator Graham would approach the new presidential administration to look for increased funding for teaching government and civics in our state. Dr. Dobson pointed out that professional development funding has historically flow ed to subjects such as reading, math, and science as they became FCAT tested. Another way to offset the high costs of professional development is for the district to rely on our own “in hous e” experts on content and particularly pedagogy. With nearly 400 secondary social studies teachers in HCPS, a wide range of expertise exists in all social st udies disciplines that could be utilized. Teacher professional study days can be an oppor tunity to tap into this knowledge base and allow teachers to net work. Mentoring teachers new to the district can

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93 take place, and partnerships can be estab lished with other dist ricts to share best practices and information. The diagram below helps explain the policy decision and expected outcomes. Teacher accountability in an age of high-stakes testing affecting teacher pay calls for a greater emphas is on social studies content and pedagogical knowledge, as opposed to reading in the content area. Professional development will produce more knowledgeable teachers and better performing students, who are more likely (in the case of government and civics) to become engaged in the democratic proce ss. Of course, this cycle of developing teachers in order to educate students better is endless. New challenges, whether legislated or not, will require that social studies educators continually adapt to new circumstances.

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94 Figure 2 Policy decision framework. Relative to Project ELECT, sustainabilit y of the initiatives described above is key to the successfully teach go vernment and civics in HCPS, whether measured by an FCAT or student civic engagement. The grant allowed for the establishment of a website, the producti on of an educational DVD series, and the

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95 creation of a CD-ROM with teacher resources. Addi tionally, TCI resources such as the new “Government Alive” resour ces were purchased. HCPS secondary social studies now has at its disposal a wealth of resources to go along with well trained teachers. Another source of support for te aching government and civics in our district is from the local elected offici als, including members of our school board, who have participated in our “Politici an Chats.” This program has been extremely satisfying to both politician participants and student s alike, with the face-to-face exchanges providing an extens ion of lessons well beyond the scope of the textbook. An additional benefit is the improvement of our ability to teach about state and local government, an area her etofore given little coverage in our curriculum. As of this writing, one of our county commissioners has volunteered to teach about local government on a regul ar basis in one of our high schools. These types of partnerships also help pr omote the outstanding work our social studies teachers do every day. As Project ELECT comes to a c onclusion in 2009, opportunities for additional research will present themselv es. Of particular in terest is the longterm effect, both on teacher self-effi cacy and teacher content knowledge, produced by participation in the summer in stitutes and other workshops offered under the grant. Student content k nowledge will be assessed by both the National Assessment of Educational Progre ss for civics and by district-created end-of-course exams in American Governmen t. Both could serve as predictors of student achievement should a civics FCAT present itself.

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96 The paradigm of summer institutes, teacher mentoring, development of resources, and ongoing part nerships that were fost ered under Project ELECT can provide an excellent m odel as funding becomes ava ilable to promote content and pedagogical knowledge in the other social studies disciplines. HCPS is applying for a new Teaching American Histo ry grant that will provide up to $1 million to improve the teac hing of that subject. The implementation of this new policy will call for new and ongoing research. It will be important to c ontinue to measure student knowledge of various social studies content by administe ring the district endof-course exams. Teacher content knowledge can be assesse d to determine the effectiveness of professional development oppor tunities. It would also be of interest to network with other school districts, particularl y those in the Tampa Bay region, to determine who they are addressing t he changing educational environment relative to social studies, and perhaps par tner with them in improving teacher content knowledge. The conclusion of this dissertatio n completes only one aspect of the research being conducted under the Projec t ELECT grant. As part of my duties as Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies, it is challenging to find ways to help teachers become more expert in teaching our subjects. Project ELECT funded an opportunity to examine, in the short r un for purposes of this study and over time as we face new standards and high-st akes tests, how to most effectively provide teachers with the training and resources needed to help their students learn. As has been cited throughout this research, improving teacher self-

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97 efficacy, along with their cont ent knowledge, has the benef it of improving student achievement. Relative to government and civics, improved teacher content knowledge and confidence for teaching the s ubject positively impacts the societal goal of producing more engaged and active citizens. The potential to help individual students and teachers, and to benef it our democracy as a whole, are the primary rewards of being a social studies educator.

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98 Chapter 6 Epilogue This policy study is an example of translational research. As described by Mary Brabeck, the goal of translational research is to provide practitioners with the latest research in usable form (B rabeck, 2008). For educators this means that, rather than remaining with the res earcher, vital knowledge is disseminated and shared quickly with those most likely to benef it from it. In this case it means our senior leadership as well as our teachers. In order to help teachers meet the challenges posed by the need to addr ess new and detailed standards and prepare for high-stakes testing that may impa ct compensation, it is critical that they be informed of policy decisions that will effect them directly and that they be involved as partners in impl ementing policy. The cour se of action, the policy decision if you will, is to shift pr ofessional development of HCPS secondary social studies teachers from a reading in the content area focus to one that is designed to improve teacher content k nowledge. The memor andum to the (then) General Director of Secondary Educati on that appears below is presented as evidence of this policy shi ft being set into motion:

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99 DATE: December 1, 2008 TO: David J. Steele, General Director, Secondary Education FROM: Dennis Holt, Supervisor, Secondary Social Studies SUBJECT: Content Training for Secondar y Social Studies Teachers Over the past several years, secondar y social studies teachers in our district have taken a leading role in the teaching of reading in the content area. As a result, our discipline has enjoyed the perception among district and site-based administrators t hat our efforts have had a positive influence on student reading achievement as measured by the FCAT, and thus school grades. This perception is confirmed to some degree by the data provided by our office of Assessment and Accountability. While this perception is critical to so cial studies, and has in fact led to steady growth in our electives, rec ent events call for a change in policy relative to social studies professional development. As you are aware, the Next Generation of Sunshi ne State Standards for so cial studies has been completed and will go to the State Board of Educ ation for approval this month. These new standards are far more detailed than the older version and contain very specific benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do. In addition, recent effo rts in our state legislature indicate that a social studies FCAT, or at l east end-of-course exams, are likely to be required in the near future. This be ing the case, it is critical that we begin shifting our professional developm ent focus toward social studies content and pedagogical trai ning. Reasons supporting this initiative are as follows: 1. Site-based resources such as readi ng coaches are in place to promote reading in the content area and pr ovide support for teachers. 2. Given the level of reading in th e content area that our teachers have received and the instructional strategi es they have adopted, it is likely

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100 that social studies teachers will cont inue to positively influence student reading as measured by the FCAT. However, it will be important to provide ongoing encouragement fo r the teaching of reading. 3. In an era of accountability (e x: MAP) and high-stakes testing, secondary social studies teachers wil l come under increasing pressure to master the content and pedagogica l skills that will enable them to remain at the top of their profession. This will become increasingly true as more experienced teachers retire and are replaced by younger teachers. 4. Lessons learned from the Project ELECT grant indicate that our teachers are very anxious to receiv e content and pedag ogical training. Data collected confirms this. 5. The development and purchase of engaging teacher content resources is ongoing and needs to be combined with profe ssional development to promote their use. Examples incl ude TCI’s Government Alive! and Economics Alive! products, and the DVD and CD ROM we created under Project ELECT. Of course, the difficulty in undertaking this initiative at this time is that we face severe budget constraints. It will be important to continue to look for outside sources of funding for teacher training. We will apply for the Teaching American History grant and have requested a no-cost extension of Project ELECT that will allow us to extend teacher training in government and civics into the summer. Additionally, we will continue to work with our partners such as US F, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, the Florida Holocaust Museum, and the Tampa Bay History Center to provide meaningful professi onal development for our teachers. We will also shift our staff development requests away from those that are reading focused to those that are focused on content. In support of this initiative I can cite the example we have seen relative to Advanced Placement courses. T he district has pursued funding and partnerships to promote AP and provided ongoing professional development and resources for teachers. As a result we have seen teacher confidence for teaching AP courses rise along with student achievement. It is my belief that providing secondary social studies teachers with professi onal development in content and pedagogy will allow HCPS to continue to be an educatio nal leader in the field of social studies in our state.

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101 The memorandum is of course brief and to the point, a requirement in this district as I assume it most be in most where there are many challenges facing educational leaders. Since the writing of this origin al memorandum, Dr. Steele has been promoted and replaced by a new gener al director, Denny Oest. He too has seen the memo and granted his approval. What is interesting is that Mr. Oest was, until his appoint ment in late December 2009, a principal at a high school with a large proportion of students with low scores in reading achievement. He agreed with the conclusion that schools now had the resources in place to conduct their own teacher pr ofessional development in reading. His support would have been unlikely were the resources not in place at his former school. Moreover, with new standards fo r social studies and some form of teacher accountability relative to the di scipline on the horizon, he agreed with implementing this new policy initiative. Having completed my study, I have begun to take notice of additional data that confirm the policy decision. In Appendix E scores for students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Apti tude Test/National Merit Sc holarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) are compared to Advanc ed Placement (AP) United States Government and Politics scores. Accord ing to the College Board, there is a moderate to high correlation betw een PSAT/NMSQT scores and student performance on AP exams (College Board, n.d.). The data seem to indicate that our students should be performing better on AP exams, than they are. For example, nationally 51.5% of student s who score between 161 and 170 on the PSAT/NMSQT score a 3 (passing grade) on the United States Government and

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102 Politics AP exam. In HCPS only 35.3% of students who score in the same range on the PSAT/NMSQT pa ss the AP exam. This may be due to many factors but a lack of teacher content knowledge may be part of the expl anation. Similar underperformance occurs in other AP social studies exam scores. Underperformance on AP scores could have im plications for high schools. An email sent on January 28, 2009 from our Office of Assessment discussed proposed changes to the state’s system of grading high schools that would include pass rates on AP exams as a component. In discussing the implications of pr oviding more content training with teachers, the response has been overw helmingly positive. Teachers of a number social studies subjects have indicated eagerness to receive more content training. Those who attended the Project ELECT summer institutes related their positive views of the wor kshop offerings, a sit uation supported by their overall satisfaction noted in the Project ELECT Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey Breakdown of Res ponses – Aggregate (see Appendix D). While their satisfaction with the works hops was apparent, it will not be until the end of the grant that data is available to assess any change in their content knowledge. This decision does have risks however Chief among them are that HCPS social studies could loose the positive perception it has enjoyed among district and site-based administrators. It will be important to remind social studies teachers that they will need to continue to promote student literacy. This will maintain the positive reputation that secondary social studies has enjoyed and

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103 will help foster the growth of the discipline in HCPS. Simply put, while there may be high-stakes social studies tests on the horizon, FCAT Reading is not going to go away and social studies will be expect ed to support efforts to improve student reading skills. Literacy al so helps our students access th e stimulating stories and content that help make social studies so important to our society. As was noted in Chapters I and III, our school board has been supportive of Project ELECT and secondary social studies as a whole. However, at least one board member has expressed concern over the fact that our American Government class is taught as a freshman rather than senior level course. As was noted in the introduction, this was done as a way to support literacy rather than for curricular reasons. With a new focus on content it may be appropriate to revisit this decision and consider mo ving the course to the senior year. A final anecdotal story may help the reader appreciate the need to improve the content knowledge of HCPS se condary social studies teachers. I was recently visiting the classroom of a newly hired teacher, a young woman certified to teach social studies and curr ently enrolled as a ma ster’s student at a local university. She was going over a pr e-test in her regular American history class. Unfortunately, as she was helping the students go over the test, she gave them three answers out of twenty that we re clearly wrong. Even more troubling was the fact that, being new, she had borro wed a copy of this pre-test from another member of her department who had passed on the erroneous answers. Although this is, I hope, an isolated incide nt it drove home to me the need to equip our teachers with the content knowled ge in the subjects they teach. Not

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104 only would this improve their teaching se lf-efficacy, it would more importantly help ensure that our students get the rich education they deserve. I believe that this research describes the culture of change that exists in HCPS, and other large urban school distri cts, and the steps that can lead to improving social studies. It is likely that a policy decision designed to improve secondary social studies teacher c ontent knowledge would be made as highstakes testing in those subjects become a more real possibility. However, this research provided an opportunity to look ov er the educational horizon and to take steps to address the need to improve teacher content knowledge in an organized and informed manner, well in advance. The research and resulting policy decision described above were not arrived at lightly. I operate in an envir onment of educational accountability, just like our schools and teachers, with new st andards and high-stakes testing among a number of challenges in this rapi dly changing educational environment. Coupled with declining funding for education it is important t hat I make good strategic decisions that have been arri ved at after research and thoughtful consideration. It is my hope that the research described above serves as just such an example.

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105 References Allinder, R. M. (1994). The relationshi p between efficacy and the instructional practice of special educati on teachers and consultants. Teacher Education and Special Education, 17, 86-95. Ashton, P. T., & Webb, R. B. (1982). Teachers’ sense of personal efficacy: Toward an ecological model Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY. Ashton, P. T., & Webb, R. B. (1986). Making a difference: Teachers’ sense of efficacy and student achievement New York: Longman. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Towa rd a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-e fficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. Berman, P., & McLaughlin, M. W. (1977). Federal programs supporting educational change, Volume III: Fact ors affecting implementation and continuation (Rep. No. R-1589/7 HEW). Santa Monica, CA: RAND. Bob Graham Center for Public Service. (2008). [Home page]. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from http:// www.graham.centers.ufl.edu

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106 Bowers, A., & Tomic, W. (2000). A longitudinal study of teacher burnout and perceived self-efficacy in classroom management Faculty of the Social Sciences, The Open Univ ersity, Netherlands. Brabeck, Mary. (2008). Why We Need “Tr anslational” Research: Putting Clinical Findings to Work in Classrooms. Education Week, 27 28-36. Brookover, W. P., & Lezotte, L. W. (1979). Changes in school characteristics coinciding with changes in student achievement East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Institute for Research and Teaching. Coladarci, T., & Fink D. R. (1995). Correlations among m easures of teacher efficacy: Are they measuring the same thing? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Amer ican Educational Resear ch Association, San Francisco, CA. College Board (n.d.). The Relationship Between PSA T/NMSQT Scores and AP Examination Grades: A Fo llow-Up Study. Retrieved January 12, 2009 from: http://professionals.college board.com/profdownload/pdf/06898bcr061.pdf Evers, W. J., Gerrichauzen, J., & Tomic, W. (2000). The prevention and mending of burnout among secondary school teachers [Tech. Rep.]. Faculty of the Social Sciences, The Open University, Netherlands. Feldman, L., Pasek, J., Romer, D., & Jamieson, K. (2007) Identifying best practices in civic education: Lessons from the student voices program. American Journal of Education, 114, 75-100.

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107 Florida Department of Education. (n.d.a). Education Information: Merit Award Program. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://www.fldoe.org/PerformancePay/ Florida Department of Education. (n.d .-b). Merit Award Program: Hillsborough Plan. Retrieved March 7, 2008 from http://www.fldoe.org/meetings /2006_10_17/Hillsbor oughPlan.pdf Florida Department of Education. (n.d.c). School Accountability Report: Florida School Grades. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/default.as p?action=verifySelectionSchool&re port=RC&districts=05&sc hoolYear=2006-2007%2C+20052006&school_grade=&level=Sch ool&schoolNumbers=050071 Florida Department of Education. (n .d.-d). 1996 Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies. Retrieved July 15, 2008 from http://www.fldoe.org/bii/curriculum/sss/sss1996.asp Florida Department of Education. (n.d.-e) Next Generation of Florida’s Sunshine State Standards. Retriev ed December 15, 2008 from http://www.fldoe.org/bii/curriculum/sss/ Florida Department of Education. (n.d.-f) Florida’s A++ Plan for Education. Retrieved July 17, 2008 from http://fldoe.org/APlusPlus Thomas B. Fordham Institute (n.d.). Put Teachers to the Test. Retrieved January 13, 2009 from http://www.edexcellence.net/det ail/news.cfm?news_id=223&id=

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108 Gayles, A. R. (1989). Effective in-ser vice techniques for promoting teacher retention. In A. M. Garibaldi (Ed.), Teacher recruitm ent and retention: With a special focus on minority teac hers (pp. 61-67). Washington, DC: National Education Association. Gibson, C., & Levine, P. (2003). The civic mission of schools. New York: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Carnegie Corporation of New York. Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. H. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 569-582. Goals 2000: Educate America Ac t, Title III, Sec. 302 (1994). Grissmer, D. W., & Kirby, S. N. (1987). Teacher attrition: T he uphill climb to staff the Nation’s schools. S anta Monica, CA: RAND. Grissmer, D. W., & Kirby, S. N. (1992). Patterns of attrition among Indiana teachers, 1965-1987. Santa Monica, CA: RAND. Grissmer, D. W., & Kirby, S. N. (1994). Teacher ret ention: Linking research and policy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND. Guskey, T. (1981). Measurement of responsibility teachers assume for academic successes and failures in the classroom. Journal of Teacher Education, 32, 44-51. Guskey, T. (1988). Teacher efficacy, self-concept, and attitudes toward the implementation of instru ctional innovation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 4 (1), 63-69.

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109 Guskey, T., & Passaro, P. D. (1994). Teacher efficacy: A study of construct dimensions. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 627-643. Henson, R., Kogan, L., & Vacha Haase, T. (2001). A reliability generalization study of the Teacher Efficacy Sc ale and related instruments. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61 (3), 404-420. Hillsborough County Public Schools. (2008). FACTS 2008-2009. Tampa, FL: Author. Hillsborough County Public Schools. (2008a). FCAT percent making annual reading learning gain by social st udies course: High school second semester courses report Tampa, FL: Author. Hillsborough County Public Schools. (2008b). The 2008 FCAT Reading Developmental Scale score gain per leve l with percent of students making year’s growth based on 2007 achievement levels [Internal report]. Tampa, FL: Author. Ingersoll, R. M., Nabeel, A., Qu inn, P., & Bobbitt, S. (1997). Teacher professionalization an d teacher commitment: A multilevel analysis [Report No. NCES 97-069]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educ ation Statistics. Kahne, J., & Middaug h, E. (2008). Democracy for some: The civic opportunity gap in high school [Working Paper 59]. Coll ege Park, MD: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), University of Maryland.

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110 Leming, J. S. (1999). Efficacy and experience: The relationship between locus of control and years of teaching experience Carbondale, IL: Curriculum, Instruction, and Media, Southern I llinois University at Carbondale. Levine, Peter (2007). The future of democracy: De veloping the next generation of American citizens Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. Levinson, M. (2007). The civic achievement gap College Park, MD: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) [Book in preparation]. Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the Univer sity of Central Florida. (2008). [Home page]. Retrie ved March 8, 2008 from http://www.loufrey.org Maslach, C. (1993). Burnout: A multidimensional perspective In W. B. Schaufeli, C. Maslach, & T. Marek. (1993) Professional burnout: Recent developments in theory and research ( pp. 20-21). Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. McDevitt, M., & Kiousis, S. (2006). Experiments in political socialization: Kids voting USA as a model for civic education reform [Working Paper 49]. College Park, MD: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). No Child Left Behind Act. (2001). Public Law 107-110. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://www.ed.go v/nclb/landing/jhtml

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111 No Child Left Behind Act. (2006). Highly Qualified Teacher Re vised State Plan: Florida. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacher qual/hqtplans/index.html#fl No Child Left Behind Act. (2008). [Speec h by Secretary Ma rgaret Spellings.] Retrieved March 7, 2008 from http://www.ed.gov/news/s peeches/2008/01082008.html North Carolina State Board of Education. (n .d.). Definition of Policy. Retrieved January 20, 2009 from http://sbepoli cy.dpi.state.nc.u s/Policies/EEOC008.asp?Acr=EEO&cat=C&pol=008 Office of Assessment and A ccountability, Hillsborough County Public Schools (2007). FCAT percent making annual readi ng learning gain by social studies course [Internal report]. Tampa, FL: Author. Office of Assessment and A ccountability, Hillsborough County Public Schools (2008). FCAT percent making annual readi ng learning gain by social studies course [Internal report]. Tampa, FL: Author. Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civ ics Today. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2008 from http://grants. mysdhc.org/elect Project CRISS. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2008 from http://pro jectcriss.org Purta, J., Barber, C., & Richardson, W. (2005). How Teachers’ Preparation Relates to Students’ Civic Knowl edge and Engagement in the United States: Analysis from the IEA Civic Education Study. College Park, MD: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

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112 Riggs, I., & Enochs, L. (1990). Towa rd the development of an elementary teacher’s science efficacy belief instrument. Science Education, 74, 625638. Rose, J. S., & Medway, F. J. (1981). Measurement of teachers’ beliefs in their control over student outcome. Journal of Educational Research, 74, 185190. Rosenthal, R., & Jacobsen, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Ross, J. (1994). The impact of an in-s ervice to promote c ooperative learning on the stability of teacher efficacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 10, 381-394. Ross, J., Cousins, J., & Gada lla, T. (1996). Within t eacher predictors of teacher efficacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12, 385-400. Saklofske, D. H., Michayluk, J. O., & R andhawa, B. S. (1988). Teacher’s efficacy and teaching behaviors. Psychological Reports, 63, 407-414. Schaufeli, W. B., Maslach, C., & Marek, T. (1993). Professional burnout: Recent developments in theory and research. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. Stein, M., & Wang, M. (1988). Teacher development and school improvement: The process of teacher change. Teaching and Teacher Education, 4 (2), 171-187. Teacher’s Curriculum Institute. (n.d .). Retrieved July 17, 2008 from http://www.teachtci.com

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113 Tournaki, N., & Podell, D (2005). T he impact of student characteristics and teacher efficacy on teachers’ predictions of student success. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 299-314. Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk-Hoy, A., & Ho y, W. K. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure. Review of Educational Research, 68 (2), 202248. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk-Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 283-285. U.S. Department of Education. (2004). No child left behind: A toolkit for teachers. Washington, DC: Author. U.S. Department of Education. (2007). Improve Public Knowledge and Support for Democracy Grant, Project Educ ating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT). Washington, DC: Author. Woolfolk, A. E., Rosoff, B., & Hoy, W. K. (1990a). Prospective teachers’ sense of efficacy and beliefs about control. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 81-91. Woolfolk, A. E., Rosoff, B., & Hoy, W. K. (1990b). Teachers’ sense of efficacy and their beliefs about managing students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 6, 137-148.

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114 Appendices

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115 Appendix A: Teacher Effica cy Scale (22-Item-Long Form) Demographic Questionnaire

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116 Appendix B: Teacher Demographic Survey Teacher Demographic Survey 1. Please provide your “ Lawson” ID number _______________. 2. Please indicate the number of years you have taught __________. 3. Please indicate, with an X, the cour ses you will teach in the 08-09 school year. Select all that apply and indicate level(s). Regular = R, Honors = H, Advanced Placement = AP, Dual Enrollment = DE. American Government _________ World History _________ American History _________ Economics _________ Electives (please specify) _________ _________ _________ 4. Please indicate, with an X, your highest degree attainment: Bachelor’s __________ Master’s __________ Doctorate __________ 5. Please indicate, with an X, the type of teacher preparation you received: Traditional __________ Alternative __________ 6. Please indicate, with an X, the type of certification you hold: Permanent __________ Temporary __________ 7. Please indicate, with an X, your gender: Male __________ Female __________ 8. Please indicate, with an X, your age group: 21-25 years __________

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117 Appendix B (Continued) 26-30 years __________ 31-35 years __________ 36-40 years __________ 41-45 years __________ 46-50 years __________ 51+ years __________ 9. Please indicate, with an X, your ethnicity: African-Am erican __________ Hispanic __________ Asian-American __________ White __________ Other __________

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118 Appendix C: Pilot Study Survey Statistics 1. Age: 21 to 25 60% 26 to 35 30% 36 to 45 10% 2. Gender: Male 60% Female 40% 3. Degree Level: BA 60% MA 40% 4. Number of years te aching: 1 to 5 70% 5 to 10 20% 10 to 15 10% 5. Subjects: All secondary social studies subjects (Government, World History, American History, Economics) and some electives. 6. If I try really hard, I can get through to even the most difficult students. Strongly Agree 70% Agree 30% 7. A teacher really can’t do much becaus e much of a student’s motivation and performance depen d on home environment. Agree 10% Disagree 90% 8. I use a variety of instructional methods in my classroom. Strongly Agree 90% Agree 10% 9. I am able to see an improvement in my students’ performance over the course of the year. Strongly Agree 90% Agree 10% 10. My students generally respond positively to my teaching. Strongly Agree 90% Agree 10%

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119 Appendix C (C ontinued) 11. My classroom management style keeps disruptions to a minimum. Strongly Agree 60% Agree 40% 12. I use a variety of methods to assess student learning. Strongly Agree 40% Agree 60% 13. No matter what I try, I can’ t seem to motivate my students. Disagree 40% Strongly Disagree 60% 14. I believe that most social studies teachers are able to instruct students effectively. Agree 60% Disagree 40% 15. Many students are not in school to learn. Agree 0% Disagree 100% 16. I find teaching social studies to be a rewarding experience. Strongly Agree 80% Agree 20% 17. Social studies teachers could be more effective if given more support and smaller class sizes. Strongly Agree 80% Agree 20% 18. Unless social studies teachers are gi ven more support, many will leave the profession. Strongly Agree 10% Agree 90% 19. I plan to be teaching social studies for many years to come. Strongly Agree 40% Agree 50% Disagree 10% 20. I have plans to improve my teac hing and/or further my education. Strongly Agree 100%

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120 Appendix D: Project EL ECT Summer Institute Satisfaction Survey Breakdown of Responses – Aggregate 2008 QuestionOverall (Elementary, Middle and High School) N = 425 Elementary School N = 146 Middle School N = 163 High School N = 116 2. How would you rate the instructors' facilitation of your lear ning (i.e., delivery of content) throughout the institute? Excellent 67.8091.6153.8556.25 Very Good 24.465.5932.6937.50 Good 6.301.4011.545.36 Fair 1.211.401.280.89 Poor 0.240.000.640.00 3. How would you rate the schedule? Excellent 50.3556.8545.4048.28 Very Good 33.2628.7734.9737.07 Good 11.9410.9614.729.48 Fair 3.513.423.683.45 Poor 0.940.001.231.72 4. How would you rate the facilities (e.g., comfort, convenience)? Excellent 28.8724.1432.5229.31 Very Good 35.9235.8633.7438.79 Good 26.5331.0322.7026.72 Fair 7.286.909.205.17 Poor 1.412.071.840.00 5. Would you recommend the Summer Institute to a fellow teacher? Yes 88.7191.7884.4790.52 Maybe 8.475.4812.426.90 No 2.592.743.111.72 6. How would you rate your knowledge of civics prior to attending the Summer Institute? Excellent 9.841.379.8220.69 Very Good 26.709.5932.5240.52 Good 32.0836.3028.2232.76 Fair 24.8243.1522.095.17 Poor 6.569.597.360.86

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121 Appendix D (C ontinued) QuestionOverall (Elementary, Middle and High School) N = 425 Elementary School N = 146 Middle School N = 163 High School N = 116 7. How would you rate your knowledge of civics after completing the Summer Institute? Excellent 34.3533.5627.7844.35 Ver y Good 53.1856.1655.5646.09 Good 11.069.5913.589.57 Fair 1.180.682.470.00 Poor 0.240.000.620.00 8. How would you rate your knowledge of culturally competent practices prior to attending the Summer Institute? Excellent 14.297.5314.7222.41 Ver y Good 30.9121.9235.5836.21 Good 31.6228.7733.1332.76 Fair 18.9734.2513.507.76 Poor 4.227.533.070.86 9. How would you rate your knowledge of culturally competent practices after completing the Summer Institute? Excellent 30.5223.9729.6339.66 Ver y Good 48.5951.3750.6242.24 Good 15.9621.2315.4310.34 Fair 3.763.422.476.03 Poor 1.170.001.851.72 11. Overall, how would you rate the Summer Institute? Excellent 54.2564.8345.3452.59 Ver y Good 33.0226.2136.6537.07 Good 10.146.9013.0410.34 Fair 1.892.073.110.00 Poor 0.710.001.860.00 Note: The numbers represent percentages.

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122 Appendix E: Advanced Placem ent Government Scores Compared to PSAT Scores

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123 Appendix E (Continued)

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About the Author Dennis Holt is the Supervisor of Secondary Social Studies and Driver Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools—the eighth largest school district in the United States—located in Tam pa, Florida. He is Project Director of Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT). Additional duties include coordination of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation for the district, as well as responsibility for a wide range of district and community initiatives. Mr. Holt received a Bachelor of Art degree from the Univ ersity of South Florida in International Studies in 1978 and a Master of Arts in Secondary Social Studies Education in 1994. While in t he doctoral program at the University of South Florida, he has made presentations before the National Council for the Social Studies and the Florida Council fo r the Social Studies and has contributed to textbooks on teaching social studies.