Date of Award

Fall 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Richard Mohn

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

David Lee

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 4 School



This study explores factors that may be related to Mississippi’s 2015 eighth-grade reading scores, which rank the state in 50th place (Nation’s Report Card, 2016). Whereas there are likely several factors that contribute to middle-school students’ poor performance on the high-stakes tests, this study examines teachers’ reported knowledge and use of evidence-based teaching practices, sense of self-efficacy in implementing the practices, and concerns regarding high-stakes testing and possible relationship with their implementation of the practices.

All public schools in Mississippi were invited to participate in an online survey of sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teachers. After data were screened, 187 teachers were selected. The online survey was used to collect information about teachers’ 1. Awareness of evidence-based practices; 2. Sense of self-efficacy; 3. Sense of self-efficacy in implementation of evidence-based teaching practices; 4. Path to certification; 5. Concerns regarding high-stakes testing; 6. Implementation of evidence-based practices. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the presence of direct and/or indirect effects of the factors considered. The findings show direct effects of teachers’ preparation for teaching on their implementation of some of the practices examined. Additionally, the path coefficients for the individual practices were larger for teachers whose preparation was through an elementary or secondary education program. Regarding sense of self-efficacy, direct effects on implementation of practices were found with slightly more than half of the practices considered. There was no effect of high-stakes testing concern on teachers' implementation of evidence-based practices. These findings indicate possible relationships between teachers’ sense of self-efficacy and implementation of evidence-based practices, as well as a possible relationship between a teacher’s path to certification and implementation of evidence-based practices.