The Power of Collective Teacher Efficacy

November 8, 2018 Island Teacher

Great Schools have always been more than a collection of great teachers.  Too often we individualise great teaching to a formula that often ignores the power of the collective.  Or we fail to include the power of individual teacher efficacy in the formulaic compiling of characteristics of great teaching.  In the United States, Rachel Jean Eells undertook some PhD research on Collective Teacher Efficacy.   “Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Collective Teacher Efficacy and Student Achievement” Her research produced some evidence to suggest that it was very significant.  Firstly though, it is important to define the term.

What is Collective Teacher Efficacy?


Teachers in a given school believe that they can make an educational difference to their students over and above the educational impact of their homes and communities."

Schechter and Tschannen-Moran (2006:481)

Canadian Academic  Jenni Donohoo succinctly addresses the power of CTE.  She has written and presented widely on the issue.  

With an effect size of 1.57, CTE is ranked as the number one factor influencing student achievement (Hattie, 2016). Collective teacher efficacy,

So the CTE factor ranks higher on Hattie's matta analysis scale than feedback and Socioeconomic status.  This is a huge effect size that we as educators ignore at our peril.   


InfluenceEffect Size
Collective Teacher Efficacy1.57
Self-Report Grades/Student Expectations1.44
Teacher-student relationships0.72
Prior achievement0.65
Socio economic status0.52
Home environment0.52
Parental involvement0.49


Is it really that simple?

Is it just working together with a positive attitude?  The effect of CTE on outcomes is only operationalised fully if teachers and leaders are responding to what works and collectively share this belief as well as buying into a culture of high expectations and a low tolerance of poor standards in pupils outcomes and other staff members.  Having helped take a struggling school to one that gained an Outstanding Inspection grade three years later, I can say that it is the element that few leaders put enough emphasis on.



What is “collective teacher efficacy?” from Challenging Learning on Vimeo.



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Why Give CTE your attention?

School and Government leaders across the British Overseas Territories should turn their attention to improving CTE because it has an impressive list of positive consequences. Strong collective efficacy:
• improves student performance
• ameliorates the negative effects of low
socioeconomic status (SES)
• enhances parent/teacher relationships