Middle School Teachers' Academic and Behavioral Perceptions of Their Students and Expectations for High School Graduation

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Child and Family Studies


Teacher expectations of students have been consistently linked with student academic achievement. What is less known is how students’ actual behaviors and performance shape teachers’ perceptions of them, particularly when considering student gender and race/ethnicity. A diverse dyadic sample of 1,653 seventh graders with 63 reporting teachers was used to examine how teaching experience, student behavioral citations, and grade point average were related to teachers’ perceptions of each student’s antisocial behavior, academic motivation, and likelihood of graduating high school. Results showed that more experienced teachers perceived students more positively, which in turn shaped more favorable perspectives of student graduation. Unsurprisingly, when students were cited for behavioral disruptions, they were perceived more negatively by teachers. Similarly, when students were more academically successful, teachers perceived them more positively. However, several nuances were found based on student gender and race/ethnicity that point to a potentially significant role of teacher expectations in student outcomes.

Publication Title

The Journal of Early Adolescence

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