Pygmalion Expectations And Student Achievement
Pygmalion Effect: Teachers Expectations and How They Impact Student AchievementGlen GochalProfessor OConnor-PetrusoSeminar in Applied Theory and Research 2CBSE 7202TSpring 2013
Table of Contents Abstract Statement of the Problem Review of Related Literature Statement of the Hypothesis ParticipantsInstrumentsResearch DesignThreats to ValidityData SourceResults Data SummaryReferences
Pygmalion in the Modern World
Abstract Pygmalion Effect is defined as: a superiors expectations of his subordinates abilities becoming manifested in reality as the subordinates actual perceived and performed abilities. When adapted to the field of education, the effect has far reaching implications regarding the validity of todays pedagogical practices. The purpose of this Action Research Project is to examine the prevalence and impact of the Pygmalion Effect in second grade classrooms and this is accomplished by focusing on two second grade classes in a Title 1 elementary school in Brooklyn N.Y. This project has a two part hypothesis, first that a teachers stated opinion about student academic performance tends to become reality and second, presented with a teachers anticipation of his academic performance, a student will perform accordingly. The ARP focuses on establishing the existence of self-fulfilling prophecy, the factors that lead teachers to establish expectations, and the effects that varying expectations have on students. Students were queried through the use of several surveys to determine their feelings and perceptions of teacher expectations. Teachers were queried about their attitudes and behaviors via a different survey. Data collected indicates a moderate to strong correlation between students performance and attitudes and their teachers expectations and behaviors. The ARP also provides a framework for teachers to implement strategies toward developing positive student achievement through expectations that encourage learning via a workshop conducted after the survey. Same-teacher surveys conducted post-workshop indicate a moderate change in attitude and behaviors compared to initial survey and should positively impact classroom performance.
Statement of the ProblemWhen adapted to the field of education, the Pygmalion effect has far reaching ramifications on the effectiveness of todays teaching approach and execution. It is essential that educators become distinctly aware of just how much effect their assumptions on a students performance can have on that students abilities. This is particularly critical when those assumptions have negative connotations. When an educator anticipates that a student will perform poorly, the student will inevitably perform according to those expectations.
Literature Review Classroom observation reveals consistent patterns of differential teacher behavior toward high-and low-expectation students. No model has yet emerged, however, which integrates particular treatment findings into an influence sequence. Such a model is presented, outlining the cognitive processes through which teacher expectations can sustain a given level of achievement. The model suggests that teachers frequently give affectively balanced feedback to low-expectation students as a mechanism for interaction control. High-expectation students more frequently receive feedback based on their effort expenditure. These different evaluation contingencies may lead lows to believe less strongly than highs that effort will influence academic outcomes. Differences in effort-outcome covariation perceptions may lead to less persistence and more failure on the part of lows than highs, thus sustaining poorer performance. Possible means for identifying Pygmalion-prone teachers and research needed to validate the model are discussed.(Cooper.1979)
Literature ReviewStrong empirical support was found for a reciprocal relationship between teachers behavior and students engagement. Teachers interactions with students predicted students behavioral and emotional engagement in the classroom, both directly and through their effects on students perceptions of their interactions with teachers. (Skinner, E.,& Belmont, M.1993).
Literature ReviewEfforts aimed at helping teachers to avoid harmful stereotyping of students often begin with activities designed to raise teachers' awareness of their unconscious biases (Cotton. 1989 )
Teachers' expectations about a student's achievement can be affected by factors having little or nothing to do with his or her ability, and yet these expectations can determine the level of achievement by confining learning opportunities to those available in one's track (Bamburg, 1994)Literature Review Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) found that when the teachers believed that the children were intelligent the children tended to improve in their schoolwork, while others not labeled as intelligent achieved less dramatic of an increase (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968).
Rosenthal and Jacobsons research, conducted at an elementary school, required teachers to administer to each student the Test of General Ability (TOGA), which is designed to measure a students IQ . After the students completed the test, some were chosen at random to be labeled as academic bloomers, and their names were then given to their teachers . At the end of the academic year, when the students were re-tested, those students thought by teachers to be academic bloomers showed a more significant increase in TOGA scores than students not thought to be academic bloomers . Thus, Rosenthal and Jacobson concluded that teachers expectations could influence students intellectual abilities (Spitz, 1999).Statement of HypothesisHypothesis 1: When teachers express an opinion towards a students academic performance, that opinion tends to become reality. A survey of 3 second grade teachers in the below cited public school will ask them the importance of information being passed on between teachers year to year.Hypothesis 2: Presented with an anticipation of what his academic performance will be by a teacher, a student will perform accordingly. A group of 60 second grade students in an urban public school will be surveyed to ascertain their opinions of what, if any, feelings their teacher has verbally or nonverbally expressed about them.
Participants The study will consist of surveys of both educators and students from the same grade level in the same school. If the results of this action research project verify the existence of the Pygmalion Effect a workshop for the teachers will be conducted. A group of 48 second grade students in an urban Title 1 public school will be surveyed to ascertain their opinions of what, if any, feelings their teacher has expressed about them. The group consisted of 48 boys and girls of which 20 boys and 28 girls. Four of the students were born outside of the United States, three being born in a Caribbean Country and one being born in Africa. The family structure of the participants consisted of 40% single parent household, all of those households the parent present was the mother. All 48 participants reported that both parents had graduated high school, and 35% of the answers, or 17 responses, classified at least one parent as having some college background. The population consisted 90% Black, Afro-American, and 10% Hispanic. The participants primarily, 80%, live in rented apartments. In 2011the public school these participants were attending had 74% of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch programs. Eligibility for the National School Lunch Program is based on family income levels.
Instruments Both sets of participants in this study will be surveyed to ascertain if the Pygmalion effect was active in these groups.
The type of research design used in this Action Research Project will be Pre-experimental, specifically a One-Shot Case Study design. Two 2nd grade classes will be chosen from the four available 2nd grade classes. The two classes will not be further divided in any fashion. The teachers and student will be administered a survey at the same time in order to eliminate any cross contamination of answers. The survey will be used to detect the existence and depth of the Pygmalion Effect on both students and teachers. The symbolic design for this research is XO.Threats to Internal Validity
Maturation: There is a possibility that in a short period of time participants in the study could mature and have a change of mind about their feelings towards their teachers but am not expecting any material impact from such a small number change.
Training Validity Does workshop coordinators training performance meet criteria for workshop program?
Transfer Validity Does workshop coordinators job performance meet criteria?
Threats to External ValiditySelection-Treatment Interaction: Selection will be 2 entire 2nd grade classes; there will be no randomness or volunteering for the groups.
Experimenter Effects: The only interaction the experimenter will have with the groups will be passing out of the surveys.
Intraorganizational Validity: Will workshop be effective on new group of teachers?
Interorganizational Validity: Can workshop program be used successfully at other schools?
Data SourcesStudent Survey:Self-Atti