School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Kimberly Lester


Perceived Self-efficacy, Alternative Settings, Students with Disabilities, Alternative Certification, Challenging Behaviors, Emotional Disability


Education | Educational Leadership


Teacher efficacy is a motivational construct that suggests teachers’ beliefs in their perceived efficacy affects the learning environments they create and the academic achievement of their students. Perceived self-efficacy affects the effort and persistence teachers exude during obstacles, such as when students exhibit challenging behaviors, regardless if the teacher is alternatively or traditionally certified. The purpose of this causal-comparative study was to test the construct of self-efficacy grounded in the social cognitive theory and compare a teachers’ route to licensure (traditional or alternative) to perceived self-efficacy for special education teachers (SETs) of students with emotional disabilities exhibiting challenging behaviors. A convenience sample of SETs at a regional program in southeastern United States was surveyed using the long form of the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES). Data from 45 surveys were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance and independent samples t test. Results of the study indicated there is no significant difference in the perceived self-efficacy among traditionally and alternatively certified SETs of students with emotional disabilities exhibiting challenging behaviors. School administrators must continue to find ways to support special education teachers through mentoring, trainings, and professional development. Recommendations include research to determine if professional development leads to increased perceived self-efficacy.