General and Special Educators' Predictions of Student Success as a Function of Learner Characteristics and Teacher Experience

fall 2007
Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 30, Issue 4 Fall 2007, p. 249-263.

This study compared the influence of teacher and learner characteristics on general and special educators' predictions of student success.
The present study was conducted to determine whether the two professional groups, general educators and special educators, differ in their response to students with a variety of characteristics. In this study, the latter includes student gender, reading achievement, behavior, and attentiveness.
Method and Participants

The sample consisted of 384 general and 384 special education elementary and middle school teachers from the New York metropolitan who reported year of experience.
The participants were randomly assigned to one of 32 versions of a case study developed by the authors, followed by a nine-item Predictions of Student Success Survey (PSS).
The case studies described a student for whom gender, reading achievement, social behavior, and attentiveness were manipulated experimentally.

Results indicated (a) when predicting academic success, general educators make lower predictions than special educators as a function of students' reading achievement.
(b) When predicting social success, teachers respond differently as a function of students' behaviors as they interact with reading achievement.
and (c) compared to novice teachers, experienced teachers make more positive predictions of social success regarding both aggressive and friendly students.

The authors discuss the complexity of the interactions of teachers' and students' characteristics and their implications for the classroom.

Updated: Sep. 28, 2008