Effects of Teaching in a Summer STEM Camp on the Mathematics Teaching Self-efficacy of Highly Qualified Preservice Secondary Mathematics Teachers


  • Bridget Franks University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Sheryl McGlamery University of Nebraska Omaha




Self-efficacy, secondary mathematics teaching, opportunity gap, teacher education, STEM education


Educational opportunity gaps experienced by students of color living in poverty, with accompanying lower levels of mathematics achievement, remain a roadblock to their access to college-level training in STEM fields. To address this problem, secondary teachers must be confident in their ability to share mathematics content effectively with students from cultures different than their own. Bridging the opportunity gap is more likely with two elements in place: intellectually stimulating pre-college experiences and community partnerships that establish connections between underserved neighborhoods and resource-filled environments such as university campuses.

This study explored the effects of teaching in a four-week STEM summer camp for ethnically diverse, high-needs middle school girls on the teaching self-efficacy of highly-qualified preservice secondary mathematics teachers, a group that has been less studied than preservice elementary teachers. Participants were scholarship students in a federally-funded teacher preparation scholarship program at an urban, metropolitan university. Teaching self-efficacy was measured by the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (MTEBI) and by follow-up qualitative analysis of questionnaire responses and focus groups. Participants’ gains on the MTEBI were significant for Personal Mathematics Teaching Efficacy, but not for Mathematics Teaching Outcome Expectancy. Qualitative analyses suggested that both instructional coaching and everyday interactions in a summer camp setting contributed strongly to the preservice teachers’ increased confidence about teaching mathematics to culturally diverse, high-needs learners.

Author Biographies

Bridget Franks, University of Nebraska Omaha

Dr. Bridget Franks is an associate professor of human development in the Teacher Education Department at the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she serves as Editor of the Journal of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership in Education. Her research interests include the development of scientific reasoning, teaching self-efficacy in science and mathematics, and developmental perspectives on the human rights of children.

Sheryl McGlamery, University of Nebraska Omaha

Dr. Sheryl L. McGlamery is a professor of science education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she serves as Co-Director for the Office of STEM Education. Her research interests include inquiry methods in science education, mentoring and teacher leadership, educational assessment, and preservice teachers’ self-efficacy for teaching science and mathematics.


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