Bremer, Coleen Ann; Ph.D.
Program of Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Relationships Between NWEA-MAP Score Information and Teachers’ Efficacy Beliefs for Student Performance on the North Dakota State Assessment
Major Professor: Dr. Justin Wageman
In the current environment of federally mandated high-stakes testing, teachers and schools are under great pressure to ensure that students demonstrate proficiency on state assessments. Some state assessment programs do not provide teachers with the timely and feedback that connects what a teacher did in the classroom with positive outcomes o the state assessment, a teacher may not feel that he or she can make a difference in how students fare on the state assessment. Teachers who experience low self-efficacy use less effective teaching techniques which, in turn, negatively affects student learning.
Many schools are now using computer adaptive testing, such as the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA-MAP), to provide additional information to teachers about student achievement. Unlike the state assessment, the NWEA-MAP assessments may be given two or more times per year and can provide teachers with formative information to use for instructional improvement. When adjustments to instruction result in higher student achievement, it can provide the teacher with mastery experiences that increase the teacher’s efficacy perceptions.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between teachers’ efficacy beliefs for making a difference in their students’ performances on the state assessment and teachers’ uses of NWEA-MAP test results. To address the research questions, 162 teachers from the largest school districts in North Dakota were surveyed using 4 measures of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy. Two measures created for this study to measure teachers’ efficacy perceptions specific to helping students do well on the state assessment demonstrated high reliability with the study sample and correlated well with the two existing scales. Data were also collected on the way teachers used NWEA-MAP score information and the number of ways they used score information.
The results of this study suggest that the ways teachers use NWEA-MAP scores can predict the level of efficacy teachers perceive for being able to make a difference in their students’ scores on the state assessment. The predictive ability of score-use was greater than the predictive ability of other variables, such as student socioeconomic status, state test scores, and grade level.
The number of ways teachers used NWEA-MAP score information made a significant difference in teachers’ scores on the efficacy measures. Although teacher efficacy increased with the number of ways score information was used, teachers whose students did not take NWEA-MAP assessments scored higher on the efficacy scales than did teachers who used NWEA-MAP scores in just one or two ways. Since teachers’ efficacy perceptions may temporarily drop as they learn new skills, these results underscore the importance of quality staff development that supports strong efficacy perceptions in teachers as they practice new skills.
The current study, with its two new measures and suggestions of relationships between variables, provides a starting point for new lines of research in teacher efficacy. Chapter 5 presents a number of recommendations for further investigation.