Collective Teacher Efficacy: The Effect Size Research and Six Enabling Conditions

Jenni Donohoo
Collective Efficacy
10 Minute Read
January 11, 2017

When teachers believe that together, they are capable of developing students’ critical thinking skills, creativity, and mastery of complex content, it happens! Collective teacher efficacy (CTE) refers to a staff’s shared belief that through their collective action, they can positively influence student outcomes, including those who are disengaged and/or disadvantaged. Educators with high efficacy show greater effort and persistence, a willingness to try new teaching approaches, set more challenging goals, and attend more closely to the needs of students who require extra assistance. In addition, when collective efficacy is present, staffs are better equipped to foster positive behavior in students and in raising students’ expectations of themselves by convincing them that they can do well in school.

The Effect Size Research

With an effect size of 1.57, CTE is ranked as the number one factor influencing student achievement (Hattie, 2016). Collective teacher efficacy, as an influence on student achievement, is a contribution that comes from the school – not the home nor the students themselves. According to the Visible Learning Research (Table 1), CTE is beyond three times more powerful and predictive of student achievement than socio-economic status. It is more than double the effect of prior achievement and more than triple the effect of home environment and parental involvement. It is also greater than three times more likely to influence student achievement than student motivation and concentration, persistence, and engagement. Table 1. Factors Influencing Student Achievement and Their Effect Size


An effect size emphasizes the difference in magnitude of given approaches for purposes of comparison. An effect size of 0 reveals that the influence had no effect on student achievement. The larger the effect size, the more powerful the influence. Hattie (2009) suggested an effect size of 0.2 is relatively small, an effect size of 0.4 is medium, and an effect size of 0.6 is large.

Efficacy beliefs are very powerful because they guide educators’ actions.

Goddard, Hoy, and Woolfolk Hoy (2004) noted that efficacy beliefs “directly affect the diligence and resolve with which groups choose to pursue their goals” (p. 8). If educators’ realities are filtered through the belief that there is very little they can do to influence student achievement, then it is very likely these beliefs will be manifested in their practice. However, if a school staff shares a sense of collective efficacy, then they have a greater likelihood of positively impacting student learning, over and above any other influence. Six Enabling Conditions School characteristics associated with CTE, documented in the research, helped in identifying six enabling conditions for collective efficacy to flourish (Donohoo, 2017). While enabling conditions do not cause things to happen, they increase the likelihood that things will turn out as expected.

  1. Advanced Teacher Influence: Advanced teacher influence is defined by the degree to which teachers are provided opportunities to participate in important school-wide decisions.
  2. Goal Consensus: Reaching consensus on goals not only increases collective efficacy, it also has a direct and measurable impact on student achievement (Robinson, Hohepa, & Lloyd, 2009)
  3. Teachers’ Knowledge About One Another’s Work: Teachers gain confidence in their peers’ ability to impact student learning when they have more intimate knowledge about each other’s practice.
  4. Cohesive Staff: Cohesion is defined as the degree to which teachers agree with each other on fundamental educational issues.
  5. Responsiveness of Leadership: Responsive leaders show concern and respect for their staff and protect teachers from issues that detract from their teaching time and focus.
  6. Effective Systems of Intervention: Effective systems of intervention help in ensuring that all students are successful.

Fostering collective teacher efficacy is a timely and important issue if we are going to realize success for all students. Fostering collective teacher efficacy should be at the forefront of a planned strategic effort in all schools and school boards. Attending to the six enabling conditions outlined in this blog is a step toward realizing the possibility of collective teacher efficacy in schools.

References: Donohoo, J. (2017). Collective efficacy: How educators’ beliefs impact student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.Goddard, R., Hoy, W., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2004). Collective efficacy beliefs: Theoretical developments, empirical evidence, and future directions. American Educational Research Association, 33(3), 3-13.Hattie, J. (2016). Third Annual Visible Learning Conference (subtitled Mindframes and Maximizers), Washington, DC, July 11, 2016.Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York, NY: Routledge.Robinson, V., Hohepa, M. & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why. Best evidence synthesis iteration [BES]. New Zealand: Ministry of Education.

Originally Published: Donohoo, J. (2017). Collective Teacher Efficacy: The Effect Size Research and Six Enabling Conditions. The Learning Exchange, January 11, 2017. Download available from:

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