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A Causal Model of Teachers' Expectations in Elementary Classrooms

Lockheed, Marlaine E.; Morgan, William R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Achievement, California, Elementary School Teachers, Expectation, Longitudinal Studies, Models, Teacher Student Relationship


Both federal and local officials now demand desegregation by race and sex, incorporation of handicapped and bilingual children into regular classes, and equity in the provision of education programs. The result has been a diverse population in individual classrooms. Experimental research has confirmed that teachers' expectations for students' achievement are influenced by characteristics such as the student's race, sex, social class, physical attractiveness or native language, as well as by the student's actual achievement; and that teachers' expectations can influence students' achievement. Using data from a longitudinal study of teachers and students in 93 integrated second-and fifth-grade classrooms throughout California, we analyzed the determinants of teachers' expectations, the effects of teachers' expectations on students' achievement, and the reciprocal effects of teachers' expectation and students' achievement. We found that teacher and self-expectations both had strong effects on achievement gains in reading and mathematics, net of the effects of six student characteristics. Feedback effects from student's current achievement to teacher expectations occurred only in the fifth grade. In the second grade, ascribed characteristics were more important for setting both teacher and self-expectations. (36pp.)

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