Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Second Advisor

Dr. Jesus (Chuey) Abrego

Third Advisor

Dr. Ming-Tsan Lu


The purpose of the case study was to comprehend the relationship between the accountability movement as characterized by the Texas A-F Accountability System and ESSA on a middle school principal’s sense of self-efficacy in an urban school district located at the southeastern-most point of the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border. The case study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design and allowed for the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data in two consecutive phases within one study to investigate the research questions in depth. The quantitative portion of this mixed methods case study relied on the use of the Principal Sense of Efficacy Scale (PSES) to capture middle school principals’ sense of efficacy and qualitative data was sourced via one-on-one, in-depth semi-structured interviews to provide a deeper examination of principal’s perceptions of their efficacious outlooks. There was a marginally significant difference, t(4.00) = 2.14, p < 0.100, between middle school principals of school improvement and non-school improvement campuses for item 17 on the PSES. Question 17 on the PSES asked the sample population to rate the extent that they could cope with stress of the job and in this case study middle school principals of school improvement campuses believed that they could manage the rigors of the principalship better than school leaders of non-improvement campuses. In addition, there were statistically significant correlations between individual PSES questions and categorical variables. In describing how their self-efficacy beliefs were shaped all participants shared that their efficacious outlooks were influenced by enactive mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, emotional arousal, and verbal persuasion. In describing factors that influenced their level of self-efficacy beliefs, participants professed that an increase in student achievement, state test scores, and student growth positively influenced their efficacious outlooks and that stress, frustration, worry, and lack of control negatively influenced principals’ sense of efficacy. Furthermore, implications for practice and recommendations for future research are offered.


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