Sources of Elementary Teachers’ Mathematics Efficacy and Mathematics Teaching Efficacy

The purpose of this study was to investigate the contributing factors to a high level of mathematics and mathematics teaching self-efficacy beliefs of 10 elementary school teachers in a rural school district. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a subgroup of teachers, identified as having high mathematics and mathematics teaching self-efficacy, to investigate how the theorized four sources of efficacy have influenced the 10 participants who possess a high level of efficacy in both areas as measured by a Mathematics and Mathematics Teaching Self-Efficacy Beliefs Survey. According to Bandura’s (1977, 1986) social cognitive theory, individuals derive self-efficacy beliefs from four different sources: Mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasions, and physiological states. This study found that vicarious experiences, social xi ii persuasions, and physiological states were the most impactful factors in the formation of mathematics efficacy beliefs. Vicarious experiences were by far the most influential factors in the formation of mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs. Results of this study also inform school districts and teacher preparation programs on the type of professional development and training that contributes to an increase in mathematics and mathematics teaching self-efficacy beliefs as experienced by the 10 participants in this study.