Using Collective Efficacy to Influence Student Outcomes

Posted by Dr. Anne Lundquist on 6/26/2018

When teams of individuals share the belief that through their unified efforts they can overcome challenges and produce intended results, groups are more effective.


Nearly half a century ago, Albert Bandura, a Stanford University psychologist, named this interesting pattern in human behavior “collective efficacy.” In teaching, collective efficacy refers to a group’s shared belief that through their collective action, they can positively influence student outcomes. In other words, when teams of educators believe they are capable of making a difference in students’ lives, it happens!


More than two dozen of our faculty gathered on June 13-14 at Southview Middle School during Ankeny Summer Academy to learn about collective efficacy. The two-day course gave us a chance to collaborate with teachers directly, answer questions, and share ideas.


A teacher takes notes during Dr. Lundquist's presentation.  Teachers talk to each other during a break-out session


“I believe one of the most important aspects of collective efficacy is the critical role educators play in creating a safe, positive learning environment for our students where everyone feels connected and believes they have the potential to achieve high expectations,” said Director of Elementary Education Dr. Amy Dittmar, who joined me in leading the course.


Efficacious schools are more likely to:

  • Accept challenging goals,
  • Demonstrate stronger efforts, and
  • Persist in efforts to overcome difficulties and succeed.


Professor John Hattie and his team have presented collective teacher efficacy as the number one influence related to student achievement. Collective teacher efficacy is greater than three times more powerful and predictive of student achievement than socioeconomic status, according to Hattie. It is also more predictive than prior achievement, home environment, parental involvement, and motivation.


“The research shows that collective efficacy has a 1.57 effect size as a factor to influence student achievement,” Dr. Dittmar said. “It is so important for everyone in our organization to have confidence in our students’ abilities and that what they do does make a difference.”


Graphic showing what matters most in raising student achievement.