Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Christine D. Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Feinberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Gardner

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lynn Hart

Fifth Advisor

Dr. David W. Stinson


Much attention, both nationally and internationally, has been given to mathematics teaching and student mathematical performance (e.g. No Child Left Behind Act (2001), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1991, 2000) standards, Common Core State Standards Initiative, Trend in International Mathematics and Science Study (2013), and Program of International Student Assessment PISA (2013)). Teachers of mathematics have come under greater scrutiny and demands for student success have been placed upon them. Research has shown that teacher efficacy and mathematics teaching efficacy, forms of self-efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1977, 1997), can have a positive impact on teaching and learning. Yet, there has been limited research on the mathematics teacher efficacy of preservice elementary teachers (Swars, 2005).

This study examined the impact of the student teaching experience on the mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs of preservice elementary teachers. What happens to the level of mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs of preservice teachers during the student teaching experience? What are the characteristics of preservice teachers with low and high levels of efficacy beliefs? What factors from the student teaching experience influenced efficacy beliefs? A qualitative case study (Merriam, 2009) with an embedded survey was used to address the previous questions.

The results of this study demonstrate that mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs of preservice teachers rose significantly during the student teaching experience. However, the change was not uniform. Personal mathematics teaching efficacy (PMTE) increased significantly. Although mathematics teaching outcome expectancy (MTOE) increased, it was not significant. Furthermore, the research indicates four characteristics influenced mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs: attitude toward mathematics, use of manipulatives, motivation to teach, and persistence. Four factors appear to impact the development of efficacy beliefs of preservice teachers: prior experiment with mathematics, student teaching experience, relationship with cooperating teacher, and students served by the preservice teachers.