Early Childhood Educators’ Self-Efficacy in Science, Math, and Literacy Instruction and Science Practice in the Classroom

Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers’ beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers’ practice in the area of science. Analysis of survey and observation data from 67 Head Start classrooms across eight programs indicated that domain-specific self-efficacy was highest for literacy, significantly lower for science, and lowest for math.