The organizational effect of collective teacher efficacy: A study of student test scores and high schools with large concentrations of minority students

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Deogracias, Jeehye Shim
Croninger, Robert
This study examined collective teacher efficacy along with student mathematics and reading test scores on a nationally representative sample of high school students and their schools. Collective teacher efficacy is defined as a group of teachers' shared belief in their ability to promote learning and positive student outcomes. For this study, this construct is conceptualized as an aspect of the informal organization of schools, whereas other factors, such as curriculum tracking, are considered to be an aspect of the formal organization of schools. Prior research into collective teacher efficacy as an organizational construct found evidence of a positive relationship with student achievement scores, though peer-reviewed studies have not been done on a national sample of students. In addition, there has been no research on the possible moderating effects of collective teacher efficacy. I used a national dataset, the National Longitudinal Survey of 1988, and hierarchical linear modeling as the quantitative method. Contrary to prior research, I found no evidence that collective teacher efficacy had any effect on high school mathematics or reading test scores. It was not associated with either outcome, nor did it moderate the effect of the school's minority enrollment. Moreover, the largest predictor of high school test scores was prior achievement, which suggests that future research should examine school effects for young children. While this study confirmed the existence of an achievement gap between minority and majority students within schools, this gap did not vary between schools and thus, could not be modeled as a function of school characteristics. One school measure, academic press, had an impact only after controlling for average prior achievement. Additional efforts should be made to develop better measures of school organization, particularly the informal aspects of schooling, such as a school's academic press.