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Teachability and School Achievement

Is Student Temperament Associated with School Grades?

Mullola Sari

The purpose of the study was to examine how teachers perceive the innate temperament of students in the school context and whether teachers’ perceptions of student temperament are associated with their perceptions of students’ educational competence (EC) (i.e., cognitive ability, motivation and maturity) and teachability. In addition, the study aimed to determine whether teacher-perceived temperament, EC and teachability are related to student school achievement in terms of teacher-assigned school grades in Mathematics (Math) and Mother Language (ML). Teacher and student gender and teacher age were examined as moderating variables in the association between teacher-perceived temperament and school achievement. The subjects were Finnish ninth grade adolescents (n = 3212) and their Math and ML teachers (n = 221) derived from a population-based sample of Finnish upper-comprehensive schools. Teacher-rated student temperament was assessed using age-appropriately formed scales from the Temperament Assessment Battery for Children—Revised (TABC-R) and the Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey (DOTS-R). EC was assessed with three subscales covering cognitive ability, motivation, and maturity developed for the current study. Both teacher-rated and self-rated student teachability was assessed using the results of the factor analysis examined for the current data. The respective school grades were taken from the students’ latest school reports for Math and ML. The main findings were as follows: (1) teacher-perceived student innate temperament, EC, and teachability explained a rather high proportion of teacher-assigned student school grades; (2) teachers’ ratings seemed to vary systematically by their gender, age and student gender; (3) the variance between teacher-rated and self-rated temperament could be explained by teacher-ratings and self-ratings measuring different concepts and explaining different variance; and (4) on the basis of findings 1–3, teachers’ perceptions of student innate temperament could bias their assigning of grades. The results suggest a need for more consideration regarding the prevailing assessment practice in the Finnish educational system, where the student learning process and lesson activity are central. Furthermore, the findings suggest that future teacher training should take into account temperament-conscious education.

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  • Julkaisija Opettajankoulutuslaitos (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2012
    Sivumäärä 182
    Kieli Englanti
    Sarjat Department of Teacher Education,Research Report
    Ulkoasu A5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789521078651
    ISSN 1799-2508