School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Susan K. Stanley


Self-efficacy, Virtual, Special Education, Intervention, Online


Education | Special Education and Teaching


Self-efficacy beliefs have been shown to be indicators of student outcomes. They have been extensively studied in the brick and mortar setting and in online schools as well, but they have not been studied by special education teachers in the online setting. A key duty of special education teachers is delivering Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI). This study is a quantitative, predictive, correlational, and causal comparative, study and extends the understanding of the self-efficacy beliefs of special education teachers who deliver SAI in the online setting by using Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy’s (2001) Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale to measure self-efficacy beliefs, filling a gap in the research regarding this subgroup. Data was collected via emailed survey from 104 special education teachers working in an online setting at virtual or homeschool charter schools in California. The research used two designs, a predictive correlational design and a casual comparative design. In the predictive, correlational design, the predictor variables were demographic factors, such as gender, race, credential status, and age, and the criterion factor was self-efficacy beliefs. The predictive data was analyzed using multiple linear regression with only ethnicity being regarded as statically significant. In the casual comparative design, the two independent variables considered were the presence of professional development and experience in a virtual charter. The dependent variable was the self-efficacy beliefs of the teachers studied. The casual comparative data for professional development was analyzed using a t test and found to be significant. The data for experience in the setting was analyzed via the Mann-Whitney U Test, a non-parametric test, but was not found to be statistically significant. Further research could explore the self-efficacy of special education teachers delivering SAI online in other states, other settings, and specifically targeting male/queer teachers. In addition, mixed methods studies could explore the reasons for the findings and outcome studies could confirm the link between self-efficacy in this population and student outcomes and between advanced credentials and student outcomes.