Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Secondary Education, Efficacy, Urban Education, Social Cognitive Theory

Major Advisor

Casey Cobb

Associate Advisor

Kimberly LeChassuer

Associate Advisor

Sarah Woulfin

Field of Study

Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)


Doctor of Education

Open Access

Open Access


Academic self-efficacy, an individual’s judgement of his or her capacity to perform specific academic tasks, is described through a phenomenological study using interview, field notes and survey data. Academic self-efficacy is a main driver of motivation, stamina and resilience, qualities especially necessary within urban settings. The problem of practice is framed within the context of recent urban secondary structural reforms efforts to increase understanding of how students perceive their own self-efficacy as many studies in this area have been quantitative in nature and based on outcome indicators such as grades, attendance and graduation rates. Using a mixed methods convergent design, the data was used to extract four emergent themes that students identified as having a positive or negative impact on their academic self-efficacy. The implications for school and district leadership are discussed in light of these findings with specific attention to the collection and use phenomenological data within urban schools to improve instruction and school climate.