Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Lars Björk

Second Advisor

Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno

Abstract

The number of special education students continues to rise, creating the need for additional special education teachers. Alternative certification programs have dealt with the special education teacher shortage, but not the question of teacher quality. Most teachers entering classrooms from alternative certification programs have little or no formal education in methodology or behavior management, but have commensurate responsibilities as their more experienced colleagues.

The intent of this quantitative study was to examine 222 special education teachers’ sense of self-efficacy and job satisfaction in 21 central Kentucky school districts. The focus was the relation among special education teacher’s degree of efficacy in the early years of their careers (zero to five), degree of job satisfaction, and their certification type in special education (alternative vs. traditional).

The secondary purpose was to examine the interrelation among teacher efficacy, number of years in the profession, degree of job satisfaction, gender, type of classroom, and area of certification in special education. The degree of teacher self-efficacy is linked to increased student outcomes and achievement, extent of planning, implementation of new ideas, enthusiasm, commitment, and increased patience with struggling students.

The Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale was utilized to measure teacher efficacy. The Brayfield Rothe Job Satisfaction Index (1951) as modified by Warner (1973) was employed to measure the affective factors of job satisfaction. A demographic questionnaire developed by the researcher gathered information from the respondents.

The study hypothesis assumed that teacher efficacy, specifically teacher self-efficacy, was lower in early career special education teachers who were pursuing or had recently completed certification through alternative programs. Analysis of the data indicates there is no significant difference between special education teachers who have completed alternative certification programs and their traditionally certified counterparts in terms of their degree of self-efficacy. Responses from the Job Satisfaction Survey indicated both groups of special education teachers are satisfied with their jobs.

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