PYGMALION EFFECT: TEACHERS’ EXPECTATIONS AND HOW THEY IMPACT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT Glen Gochal Professor O’Connor-Petruso Seminar in Applied Theory and Research 2 CBSE 7202T Spring 2013 Table of Contents • Abstract • Statement of the Problem • Review of Related Literature • Statement of the Hypothesis • Participants • Instruments • Research Design • Threats to Validity • Data Source • Results • Data Summary • References Pygmalion in the Modern World Abstract Pygmalion Effect is defined as: a superior’s 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 today’s 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 teacher’s stated opinion about student academic performance tends to become reality and second, presented with a teacher’s 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 teacher’s 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 Problem • When adapted to the field of education, the Pygmalion effect has far reaching ramifications on the effectiveness of today’s teaching approach and execution. It is essential that educators become distinctly aware of just how much effect their assumptions on a student’s performance can have on that student’s 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 lowexpectation 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. Highexpectation 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 Pygmalionprone teachers and research needed to validate the model are discussed.(Cooper.1979) Literature Review “Strong 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 student’s perceptions of their interactions with teachers.” (Skinner, E.,& Belmont, M.1993). Literature Review Efforts 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 Jacobson’s 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 student’s 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 retested, 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 Hypothesis Hypothesis 1: • When teachers express an opinion towards a student’s 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. Research Design • 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 coordinator’s training performance meet criteria for workshop program? • Transfer Validity – Does workshop coordinator’s job performance meet criteria? Threats to External Validity • Selection-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 Sources • Student Survey: Self-Attitude Rating Scale A) Frequencies B) Attitudes • Teacher Survey: Self-Attitude Rating Scale - Attitudes. Data Analysis and Correlations: Student Surveys • For the purpose of this analysis, the following abbreviations are used on charts and graphs: • For the purpose of this analysis, questions asked were as generating a positive feeling for the student or a negative feeling for the student. Negative questions are indicated by the letter N and positive questions are indicated by the letter P. Number of Students Data Analysis: Student Surveys 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 SD D N A I usually I think my I feel my My 1st I got bad When I usually I think my I feel my My 1st I got good I never get feel my 2nd grade teacher grade conduct something feel my 2nd grade teacher grade conduct into trouble teacher teacher thinks I am teacher did marks in 1st goes wrong teacher teacher thinks I am teacher marks in 1st for my thinks I am does not a badly not like me. grade. in class,my thinks I am likes me. a well liked me. grade. behavior In not smart. like me. behaved classmates very smart. behaved class. child. blame me. child. SA Survey Questions Question Pairings Correlation 1st pair -0.362858 2nd pair -0.124393 3rd pair -0.331416 4th pair -0.144721 5th pair -0.30332 6th pair -0.527399 Survey was designed with statement pairs, a negative and a positive for each to determine if student answers were consistent or arbitrary. Above chart and correlations reflect that students were consistent in their answers, though they did struggle with consistency on some of the question pairs. The first two statements are the 1st pair, the next two questions are the second pair and so on. Aggregate Means SD D N A SA Correlation Negative Question 31 7 3 3 4 -0.328371821 Positive Question 6 6 6 10 22 Data Analysis: Student Surveys 40 Number of Students 35 30 25 20 15 0 or never 10 1-2 times 3 times 5 4 times 0 In class, I get I get a gold My teachers I do not get My teacher My Last year I In the first blamed for star even if I calls my in trouble in tells me I do homework got good grade I got something I wasn't that parent to class, even if a good job gets a 4 out grades. good grades did not do. well discuss my I misbehave on my work. of 4. behaved in bad class behavior. Survey Questions The teacher calls on me to answer questions The teacher calls on me to come to the board 5 times Aggregate Question Means Negative Question Positive Question 0 or never 24 3 1-2 times 10 5 3 times 4 times 4 3 5 10 5 times 8 25 Correlation -0.342464693 Statements were either negative or positive. A response of 5 times to a positive question is the same as a Strongly Agree in the previous survey, while a 0 would be the same as a Strongly Disagree. This allowed correlation between the results of the two surveys Correlation between survey responses Negative Question 0.97614 Positive Question 0.99394 Teacher Surveys: Pre and Post Workshop Pre-Workshop 1-Strongly Disagree 2- Disagree Post-Workshop 3- Neither Agree nor Disagree 4-Agree 5-Strongly Agree 1-Strongly Disagree 2- Disagree 3- Neither Agree nor Disagree A 1 I value the non-academic feedback I get from other teachers on their previous students. A X X 2 I think passing along my own opinion to other teachers is important to pupil development. A X AX 3 I feel asking a previous instructor for non-academic information on a student is simply doing my due diligence. 4 Non-academic information passed along from previous instructors is more valuable in evaluating students than academic information. A 5 I do think there are “bad” children who cannot be changed. X 6 Well-behaved children are always smarter than those who do not behave well in class. X 7 I always evaluate my students based only on their individual merits and behaviors in my classroom. 8 Children who misbehave in class do so because they cannot perform well academically. 9 I make some decisions, like beginning of year seating charts, based on feedback from previous instructors, without having interacted with children in the class. X It is especially important for new teachers to seek the non-academic feedback of their students’ prior teachers. A 10 AX X A A X A X X A X A AX A A X X X 5-Strongly Agree AX AX A 4-Agree AX A Data Summary: Student Survey Statements comprising each survey are categorized as either positive or negative, in terms of the response that the question should solicit in the average student. For example, the statement “I think my 2nd grade teacher likes me” is positive while the statement “I think my 2nd grade teacher does not like me” is negative. This allows the results to be viewed as an aggregate as well as on an individual statement basis. It also permits comparison between the two surveys, despite different answer types. The data gathered produced some interesting results. In order to analyze the whole of the self-attitude rating survey, I took the average response per category (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) and compared them based on whether the question was intended to elicit a primarily positive or negative response. In designing the survey I asked 6 questions, and then I reworded them to elicit the opposite response. The results were somewhat surprising. The data indicates a correlation of -.3284 between positive and negative questions. While I was anticipating a negative correlation, I had thought the relationship between the two data sets would be stronger, close to a -.6 correlation. Similarly, for the frequency survey, the responses were aggregated and averaged based on negative versus positive questions. Again, a moderately negative correlation of -.3425 was achieved. What is interesting is that the correlation between the two surveys’ responses is a positive .97614 on the negative questions and a positive .994 on the positive questions, so the responses from the students were consistent across the two. While the data does not definitively indicate the existence of the Pygmalion effect, it does support the existence of a relationship between teacher expectations and student performance and attitudes. Data Summary: Teacher Survey • Teachers’ initial responses indicated the existence of Pygmalion effect, but not to the degree the researcher would have predicted. However, the survey responses after the workshop show an improved awareness of the Pygmalion effect and a tendency to try to avoid its influence in future classes. References • Bamburg, J.D. (1994). Raising Expectations for students. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC • Cooper,H. (1979). Pygmalion Grows Up: A Model for Teacher Expectation Communication and Performance Influence. Review of Educational Research 49 (3) .389-410 • Cotton, K (1989). Expectations and Student Outcomes. School Improvement Research Series. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. • O’Connor-Petruso, S. (2010). Descriptive Statistics Threats to Validity [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://bbhosted.cuny.edu/webapps/portal • Skinner, E.,& Belmont, M. (1993). Motivation in the Classroom: Reciprocal Effects of Teacher Behavior and Student Engagement Across the School Year. Journal Of Educational Psychology 85 (4). 571-581. • Spitz, Herman .(1999). Beleaguered Pygmalion: A history of the controversy over claims that teacher expectancy raises intelligence. Intelligence, 27, 199-234. • Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom: Teachers‘ expectations and pupils' intellectual development. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.