Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Juan Battle


Gillian Bayne

Committee Members

Gillian Bayne

Nicholas Michelli

Subject Categories

Education | Science and Mathematics Education


education, science education, science self-efficacy


What factors influence ninth grade students’ expectations for success in science? Using social cognitive theory and bioecological systems theory as theoretical frameworks, this dissertation employs data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) to examine the relative impact of teacher practices and their perceived attitudes on students’ science self-efficacy. Further, as they relate to this broader issue, the relative impact of student subjective task value and teacher characteristics is also investigated.

It has been well documented that U.S. students are not achieving at satisfactory levels in science. Education policy has focused on improving science teacher quality as one way to address this problem. Teacher effectiveness has been primarily measured by student achievement on standardized tests. However, not enough attention has been given to the social cognitive factors that can lead to increased achievement and persistence in science as well as how teachers may influence these factors. This study interrogates the relationship between student and teacher variables and the social cognitive construct of self-efficacy, which has proven to have a significant impact on student achievement and persistence in science. Findings add to the current literature surrounding ways that educators may increase student performance in science by employing policies and practices that benefit the development of student science self-efficacy.