Self Efficacy to Teach Statistics (SETS)
Self Efficacy to Teach Statistics (SETS)


About the SETS...

The only instrument that exists to measure statistics teaching efficacy is the Self-Efficacy to Teach Statistics (SETS; Harrell-Williams,Sorto, Pierce, Lesser, & Murphy, 2014a, 2014b). The two grade-band-specific versions of the SETS measure teacher efficacy to teach middle and secondary students the skills to conduct specific statistical tasks, based on the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Pre-K-12 Report (Franklin et al., 2007) and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM; National Governors Association Center for Best Practice & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010).


The middle grades version of the Self-Efficacy to Teach Statistics Instrument (SETS-MS; Harrell-Williams, Sorto, Pierce, Lesser, & Murphy, 2014a) has 26 items that employ a 6-point Likert scale, with 1 = not at all confident and 6 = completely confident. The 6-point scale mirrors that of the Current Statistics Self-Efficacy scale (CSSE; Finney & Schraw, 2003) and the Self-Efficacy to Learn Statistics scale (SELS; Finney & Schraw, 2003). Harrell-Williams, Sorto, Pierce, Lesser, & Murphy (2014a) provide information regarding instrument develop and evidence for reporting two subscales for the SETS-MS instrument, identified as "Reading the Data - Level A" and "Reading Between the Data - Level B".


The high school version of the SETS (SETS-HS) builds on the 26 items in the validated middle grades version of the SETS (SETS-MS) by adding 18 items related to standards in the "Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data" and "Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions" strands of the High School CCSSM. Similar to the SETS-MS, a six-point scale was employed to keep the same number of response categories as in the CSSE and SELS. Specifically, the SETS-HS instrument has respondents rate their confidence in "teaching high school students the skills necessary to complete successfully the task given" using a six-point scale in which higher values correspond to higher confidence (1 = "Not at all confident, 6 = "Completely confident"). The SETS-HS instrument was designed with three subscales to align with the GAISE Pre-K-12 Levels, to which the authors have applied language from Friel, Curcio, and Bright (2001): Reading the Data (Level A), Reading Between the Data (Level B), and Reading Beyond the Data (Level C).


  • Harrell-Williams, L.M., Sorto, M.A., Pierce, R.L., Lesser, L.M., & Murphy, T.J. (2015). Identifying statistical concepts associated with high and low levels of self-efficacy to teach statistics to middle grades. Journal of Statistics Education, 23(1), 1 – 20.
  • Harrell-Williams, L.M, Sorto, M.A., Pierce, R., Lesser, L.M., & Murphy, T.J. (2014b). "Using the SETS Instruments to Investigate Sources of Variation in Levels of Pre-service Teacher Efficacy to Teach Statistics". In K. Makar, B. de Sousa, & R. Gould (Eds.), Sustainability in statistics education. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS9, July, 2014), Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute.
  • Harrell-Williams, L.M., Sorto, M.A., Pierce, R.L., Lesser, L.M., & Murphy, T.J. (2014a). Validation of scores from a measure of teachers' self-efficacy to teach middle grades statistics. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(1), 40-50.
  • Harrell-Williams, L.M., Sorto, M.A., Pierce, R.L., Lesser, L., & Murphy, T.J. (2012). Measuring confidence to teach statistics to middle and high school grades: The development and validation of the SETS instruments. Webinar for Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE).
  • Harrell, L.M., Pierce, R.L., Sorto, M.A., Murphy, T.J., Lesser, L.M., & Enders, F.B. (2009). On the importance and measurement of pre-service teachers' efficacy to teach statistics: Results and lessons learned from the development and testing of a GAISE-based instrument. Proceedings of the 2009 Joint Statistical Meetings, Section on Statistical Education, pp. 3396 - 3408. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association.



  • In Press
    • Comparison of reliability and validation evidence for SETS-MS using both middle grade and secondary pre-service teachers: refereed proceedings for 2017 Psychology of Mathematics Education-North America (PME-NA) 
  • In Progress
    • Validation of the SETS-HS with pre-service teachers: manuscript under review


Contact Information
Request the SETS instruments: Rebecca Pierce, or Leigh Harrell-Williams,