Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Verhoek-Miller, Nancy

Committee Member

Jayroe, Teresa

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


In order to provide evidence of the worth of the Summer Institute of the National Writing Project, this study sought to determine whether participation in the professional development would increase feelings of teacher efficacy in writing. The Summer Institute professional development is consistent with recommendations of researchers in teacher efficacy and in professional development. Albert Bandura?s social cognitive theory provides a contextual framework for both teacher efficacy and the Summer Institute. The study compared the pre- and posttest scores on the Teacher Efficacy Scale for Writing and Writing Orientation Scale (Graham, S., Harris, K. R., Fink, B. & MacArthur, C., 2001) reported by 65 teachers participating in the Summer Institute. The study investigated relationships between beliefs about writing and feelings of efficacy. Dependent samples t-tests showed statistically significantly higher posttest scores for personal teaching efficacy t(63) = -5.96, SE = 7.34, p < .001 and for general teaching efficacy t(63) = -2.96, SE = .11, p = .004. Statistically significant higher posttest scores were found in natural learning in teaching writing, t(61) = -4.87, SE = .104, p < .001. No statistically significant differences were found for correctness in teaching writing and explicit instruction in teaching writing. Correlation analysis of posttest mean scores indicated statistically significant correlations between personal teaching efficacy and explicit instruction in writing (r = .419, p = .001) and between mean scores in general teaching efficacy and correctness in writing (r = -.317, p = .012). Results suggest that participation in the Summer Institute could enhance teacher efficacy in writing and increase student performance on writing assessments. The Institute?s focus on process writing seems to be effective in changing teachers? perspectives on writing instruction. Results support a recommendation that types of professional development in which teachers have participated should be used as a source of variance in research on teacher efficacy. Other suggestions include allowing more time to pass before administration of the posttest or a third administration of the instruments to subjects after returning to classrooms and implementing the ideas.