07 SES 04 A, Teacher Education Meets Inclusion and Diversity
Family background such as migration and socioeconomic status (SES) influences student achievement (Bonsen, Kummer & Bos, 2008; Konsortium PISA.ch, 2010). This is an indication of educational inequality. Following Rawls theory of justice (1999), society has the responsibility to care for disadvantaged students. Research shows that the cultural and social background of students’ impact on their achievement and these effects can be explained by teacher achievement expectations (Jussim, Robustelli & Cain, 2009). First, teacher expectations affect students’ achievement (self-fulfilling prophecy, Jussim, Robustelli & Cain, 2009). Second, according to Jussim, Eccles and Madon (1996) the teachers perception of student’s characteristics such as earlier academic achievement, characteristics of the family or cognitive abilities determines her/his beliefs and expectations towards that child. Prior research demonstrates that teacher expectations are distorted because of stereotypes according to the social or migration background of their students (Lorenz, Gentrup, Kristen, Stanat & Kogan, 2016; Lorenz, 2018). For instance, if teachers systematically underestimate the potential of students with low socioeconomic status or migration background, they will also have lower achievement expectations towards these students. As a consequence, we can observe that these students have a lower achievement than their peers with a higher socioeconomic status or no migration background. The question arises, if a specific teacher training could reduce the effects of stereotypes on teachers’ achievement expectations. This training could raise educational equality in school.
Teacher training can change the expectations of teachers on their students (Rubie-Davies, Hattie, Townsend & Hamilton, 2007). Rubie-Davies, Peterson, Sibley & Rosenthal (2015) reveal that an intervention regarding teacher expectation helped to increase self-perceptions of students, meaning that beliefs can be changed due to sensitization, contemplation or specific exercises. Based on concepts on prejudice and attitude change (Yeager & Walton, 2011), we designed a 3-day training program for teachers. This intervention aimed at reducing biased achievement expectations. During the intervention, teachers received information on self-fulfilling prophecies, they were sensitized for their own stereotypes and they were encouraged to reflect their feedback and support strategy toward the students in their classroom. Additionally, they were observed in their classroom by a professional coach who gave them feedback about their classroom behavior towards students. Furthermore, the teachers visited other teachers in their classroom and they reflected their behavior and feedback in relation to low SES students and students with migration background.
Firstly, we expect that teacher achievement expectations were not influenced by student migration background, compared to a control group of teachers who did not attend the intervention. Secondly, we hypothesize the same for student socioeconomic status instead of migration background.
These hypotheses were tested with data from a Swiss longitudinal intervention study called “Foster Educational Opportunities in Socially Heterogeneous School Classes”. The study was conducted through an intervention design by means of a sample of 66 elementary school teachers and their students from grades 4 to 6 (N=1175). By random, teachers from six German-speaking Swiss cantons were asked to participate in the intervention group or in the control group. In total, 22 teachers underwent the intervention (469 students), while 44 teachers participated in the control group (706 students). In autumn 2016 and late spring 2017, the teachers and their students filled in standardized questionnaires. The students also processed standardized academic achievement tests in German and math (Moser, Buff, Angelone & Hollenweger, 2011) before and after the intervention. The tests were designed for each grade of school. Anchor items allowed comparing testscores between the grades. Test scores were computed using Item-Response-Theory (Yen & Fitzpatrick, 2006). Teachers rated their achievement expectation for each student separately for math and German on the dimension “very good” (6) to “not good at all” (1). Migration background was dummy coded by the nationality in 1 (Swiss nationality) and 0 (foreign nationality). The socioeconomic status was measured by the ISCO codes of parents’ professions. These codes were transformed to a linear ISEI scale (Ganzeboom & Treiman, 2010), based on data of the Swiss Statistical Office. The higher ISEI of both parents was used as a measure in the study. This ISEI value was median split. To test the hypotheses, we calculated multilevel regression analyses with multi group comparison using Mplus (Version 7, Muthén & Muthén, 2012). Missing values were treated using the Full Information Maximum Likelihood (FIML) approach implemented in Mplus. The teacher achievement expectations in math and German were predicted by teacher achievement in pretest, achievement test score in pretest and the nationality. The same approach was used to test the effect of ISEI.
The results support our first hypothesis. Teacher achievement expectations are not influenced by migration background after the intervention. In contrast, teacher expectations toward their students’ academic achievement in posttest in the control group depend on the pretest measures students’ math achievement, teacher expectations in math and the migration background. The effect of migration on posttest teacher expectation significantly differed between the groups. These effects are also found for German. This implies that teachers in the control group have negatively distorted expectations. In line with the first hypothesis, these effects do not appear in the intervention group. The same method was used to test the effect of SES on teacher achievement expectation in math and German. In the control group, the effect of SES on posttest teacher expectation after having controlled for prior achievement and pretest teacher achievement expectation is not significant (p<.10). In the intervention group, the effect of SES on posttest teacher achievement expectation is not significant and smaller than in the control group. The effect does not significantly differ between groups. The results show that teacher achievement expectations are biased by student migration background. The analysis reveals that students with migration background are more disadvantaged due to negatively biased teacher expectations than the other groups. We can reduce this bias through the intervention. It is possible to modify teachers' student achievement expectations and reduce effects of stereotypes. Using a strategy of information, sensitizing, coaching and reflection is sufficient to alter teacher expectations. A main challenge remains to motivate teachers to participate in this intervention, since many teachers are not aware of the negative effects of their stereotypes. Further studies need to reveal how this intervention works in other educational systems and other countries.
Bonsen, M., Kummer, N. & Bos, W. (2008). Schülerinnen und Schüler mit Migrationshintergrund. In W. Bos, M. Bonsen, J. Baumert, M. Prenzel, C. Selter & G. Walther (Hrsg.): TIMSS 2007. Mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Kompetenz von Grundschülern in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich. Münster, 157-175. Ganzeboom, H. B.G., Treiman, D. J. (2010). International Stratification and Mobility File: Conversion Tools. Amsterdam: Department of Social Research Methodology, http://www.harryganzeboom.nl/ismf/index.htm, 28.01.2018. Jussim, L., Robustelli, S. & Cain, T. (2009). Teacher expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies. In A. Wigfield & K. Wentzel (Eds.), Handbook of Motivation at School (349-380). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Jussim, L., Eccles, J. S. & Madon, S. (1996). Social perception, social stereotypes, and teacher expectations: Accuracy and the quest for the powerful self-fulfilling prophecy. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 28, 281-388). San Diego: Academic Press. Konsortium PISA.ch (2010). PISA 2009: Schülerinnen und Schüler der Schweiz im internationalen Vergleich. Erste Ergebnisse. Bern und Neuchâtel: BBT/EDK und Konsortium PISA.ch. Lorenz, G. (2018). Selbsterfüllende Prophezeiungen in der Schule. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Lorenz, G., Gentrup, S., Kristen, C., Stanat, P. & Kogan, I. (2016). Stereotype bei Lehrkräften? Eine Untersuchung systematisch verzerrter Lehrererwartungen. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 68(1), 89-111. Moser, U., Buff, A., Angelone, D. & Hollenweger, J. (2011). Nach sechs Jahren Primarschule. Deutsch, Mathematik und motivational-emotionales Befinden am Ende der 6. Klasse. Zürich: Bildungsdirektion Kanton Zürich. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012). Mplus Version 7 user’s guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice. Revised edition. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Rubie-Davies, C. M., Hattie, J., Townsend, M. A. R. & Hamilton, R. J. (2007). Aiming High: Teachers and their students. In V. N. Galwye (Ed.), Progress in Educational Psychology Research (65-91). Hauppauge, NY: Nova. Rubie-Davies, C. M., Peterson, E. R., Sibley, C. G. & Rosenthal, R. (2015). A teacher expectation intervention: Modelling the practices of high expectation teachers. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 40, 72-85. Yeager, D. S., & Walton, G. M. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: they're not magic. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267-301. Yen, W. M. & Fitzpatrick, A. R. (2006). Item response theory. In R. L. Brennan (Ed.), Educational Measurement (111-154). Westport: Praeger Publisher.
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