Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Peter Wiens

Second Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Third Committee Member

Greg Levitt

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Wright

Number of Pages



Social studies education provides unique opportunities for students to learn about the democratic process and, more importantly, how to engage in civic life to become active citizens. It is through meaningful social studies education that students are deliberately helped to understand the world, and are provided space to discuss, deliberate, and inquire about problems in the world, both past and present, and then learn how they can work to solve these problems (NCSS, 2013a; Parker, 2008). Considering the role of social studies education in helping develop active citizens, there has been a call for social studies teachers to provide instruction that helps students build a deep understanding of our democracy and learn how to be become active, responsible citizens (Journell, 2011; Kim, 2021; NCSS, 2013a). The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, rooted in inquiry-based instruction, provides guidance to strengthen social studies education to better prepare students for college, career, and an engaging civic life (NCSS, 2013a). Despite many states, along with Washington D.C., adopting or incorporating aspects of the C3 Framework within their state standards (Hansen et al., 2018) research has shown that social studies teachers continue to use traditional, teacher-centered teaching strategies (Barton & Levstik, 2015; Lee, 2013; Thacker et al., 2017; Wiens et al., 2020). One such area that can lend itself well to understanding why teachers continue using more didactic approaches to social studies education is that of teacher self-efficacy, which has been associated with numerous positive outcomes for both students and teachers (Egyed & Short, 2006; Holzberger et al., 2014; Guo et al., 2012; Klassen & Chiu, 2011;Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). Studying social studies teacher self-efficacy can provide insight into the gap between understanding what strategies can bring about desired outcomes in a classroom and the belief that one is capable of performing such tasks (Bandura, 1977) providing a clearer path to rectify this and ensure all students receive a meaningful social studies education that prepares them for civic life. Through the use of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), this study developed a valid, reliable, and fair social studies teacher self-efficacy scale. The final version of the Social Studies Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (SSTES) is a 20-item, five factor scale that load onto a general social studies efficacy factor. Participants for this study (n = 205) were secondary social studies teachers from a large, mostly urban school district in the southwestern United States. In addition, to developing the SSTES, this study also sought to analyze the domain-specific self-efficacy of social studies teachers and understand the relationships between certain teacher and school level factors and that of social studies self-efficacy. Teachers reported the highest levels of self-efficacy in history instruction and the lowest levels of self-efficacy in economics instruction. Furthermore, self-efficacy of general pedagogy had the largest relationships with all dimensions of social studies self-efficacy further supporting the need of general pedagogy in additional to content knowledge pedagogy.


C3 Framework; Confirmatory Factor Analysis; Social Studies Instruction; Teacher Self-Efficacy


Science and Mathematics Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


File Size

1883 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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