The relationships among student academic and behavior characteristics, instructional strategies, teacher efficacy and student referral rate

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan, Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among student academic and behavior characteristics, instructional strategies, and teacher efficacy on teachers' decisions to refer at-risk students to a Child Study Team (CST). Three hundred six students and 71 teachers from two elementary schools in a large, urban public school system participated in the study.The CST referral packets for all students were examined to determine the academic and/or behavioral reasons for referral as well as the instructional strategies used to address the difficulties. Information was collected on student's gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and age and grade at referral. Additionally, teachers completed a Teacher Survey and Teacher Efficacy Scale developed by Dembo, and Gibson (198 5). Data were analyzed using chi-square, independent t-tests, and Pearson's product-moment correlation.The typical profile of a student referred was eight years old, in second grade, African American, and from low socioeconomic background. Academic reasons underlying the referral significant at the .05 level were: difficulties in reading comprehension and math. Significant behavioral reasons underlying the referral were: difficulties in attention and concentration, disruptive and interpersonal behavior, and difficulty completing a task.Nine strategies were used by teachers to address the academic and/or behavioral difficulties. On average, three to four strategies were used with each student prior to the referral process. Using peer assistance, flexible time, and teacher proximity were significant strategies.Teacher efficacy was studied in two ways---personal teaching efficacy and teaching efficacy. Teaching efficacy was found to be a significant factor in relationship to student referral rate.


Education, Elementary; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Special; Education, Teacher Training

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