Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

David E. Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Leslie A. Locke

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

J.T. Johnson

Committee Member 4

Myron B. Labat

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare The University of Southern Mississippi elementary education teacher candidates that completed the online or traditional route to determine if there was a significant difference in professional knowledge and skills using Praxis II test scores. The participants included 60 Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) online teacher candidates and 564 traditional face-to-face teacher candidates. This study also compared the two groups’ perceptions of self-efficacy. The instrument used in this part of the research study was the Teacher Education Preparation Program Exit Survey (Appendix A). A selection of the participants that completed their teacher internship during the fall 2013, participated in the self-efficacy survey. Participants for the survey included nine TAP and 76 traditional teacher candidates.

The overall findings of this research study show that while there was a significant difference in teacher candidates’ professional knowledge based on their Praxis II test scores, there was no significant difference in perceptions of self-efficacy. Although both groups felt confident in their abilities to teach, the traditional teacher candidates outperformed TAP on the Praxis II. However, in the ancillary findings of this study, more traditional teacher candidates, or 41.6%, were admitted to the teacher education program with a Praxis I exemption, based upon their 21 or higher ACT score, while only 23.4% of TAP were exempt from the requirement based on their ACT scores. These findings suggest that traditional teacher candidates entered the program at a more advanced level than the TAP teacher candidates.