A Causal-comparative Study of Teacher Self-efficacy in Virtual Charter Schools

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Teacher self-efficacy is the belief in the ability to impact students’ success. There is limited research about teachers’ self-efficacy levels in the virtual K–12 environment. Self-efficacy may play a key role in job satisfaction, teacher retention, and higher student achievement. Research literature focused on teaching preparation programs and faculty in higher education but was minimal for the K–12 context. This quantitative study aimed to increase the scope in the literature to K–12 virtual charter schools and determined if there were any significant statistical differences in teacher self-efficacy and attitudes towards science, technology, engineering, and math in the online setting. The theoretical foundation was the intersection of self-efficacy theory and servant leadership. The research questions determined if there were a statistically significant difference between teacher self-efficacy and attitudes towards STEM when compared across the subject matter of elementary, science, technology, engineering, and math, along with the comparison of virtual teaching experience. The causal–comparative design used purposive and snowball sampling methods. The 104 K–12 virtual teacher participants used the Teacher Efficacy and Attitudes Toward STEM Survey. Data was collected through Survey Monkey and then run through statistical analysis with SPSS software. The study results showed significant statistical differences in mean composite scores on the T-STEM survey across subject matter and years of virtual teaching experience groups. There was no statistical interaction between subject areas and years of virtual teaching experience. Leaders may survey the needs of their staff to determine their online teaching proficiency and provide support for gaps in proficiencies.
virtual charter school, STEM education