Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Pier Junor Clarke

Second Advisor

Dr. Draga Vidakovic

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Oshima


Research has found that self-efficacy affects how a student behaves in class, how they choose to approach academic work, how long they persevere on a topic, and the type of goals they set for themselves. When students enter high school, opinions of self-efficacy (negative or positive) are strong and it becomes increasingly difficult for teachers to help students change their efficacious beliefs. This is apparent in secondary mathematics classrooms where students have years of previous experiences that have shaped opinions about their self-efficacy. A possibility in altering self-efficacy is by combining goal achievement theory and social learning theory. If more value is placed on interim (or short term) goals, teachers may be able to increase their student’s self-efficacy through a scaffolded approach to larger achievement and mastery goals.

This study focused on the change in reported self-efficacy in high school mathematics students following a treatment of teacher promoted interim goals. Nine teachers with two classes each (N=377) from a suburban high school in the southeastern United States provided a common goal dialogue promoting short term goals in mathematics classes (ranging from ninth to twelfth grade courses) for four weeks. A survey was given to students to report their self-efficacy before and after the four-week goal treatment. Each teacher had a control class, which did not receive the goal dialogue. At the end of the four weeks a repeated measures ANOVA was conducted and found significance between the control and treatment classrooms. This indicates that students in classrooms where interim goals are promoted daily will have a higher increase in mathematics self-efficacy than students who do not receive daily goal prompts. This study also lays the groundwork for the Self-Efficacy Goal Spectrum (SEGS) which explains how to maximize mathematics self-efficacy through targeted interim goals.