Teacher expectations and the mediation effects of trust on eighth grade adolescent academic self-efficacy and achievement
The adolescent years are typically a difficult time for most youngsters. They experience a stage of rapid cognitive, emotional and social growth which ultimately impacts their personal efficacy and academic achievement. This study examined what may contribute to this decline, taking into account students' perceptions of teacher behavior in class and how that may impact their academic efficacy and achievement in school.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between adolescent perceptions of teacher expectations on the dimensions of affect and teaching effort and their reported academic self-efficacy on the aspects of ability, context and effort from two middle schools. Further, this study examined whether the level of trust adolescents have in their teacher mediates the relationship between their perceptions on the dimensions of teacher expectations, the aspects of academic self-efficacy and achievement.
A survey was developed comprised of items from three published surveys focusing on observed teacher expectation behaviors, trust and student academic self-efficacy. The survey was administered to 198 eighth grade students from two middle schools located in Long Island, New York. Academic achievement was measured by the students' first quarter grade from the 2009–2010 school year.
The results of this study found that student ability and student effort have the most impact on academic achievement when trust is present in the environment. Additionally, findings indicate adolescent trust in their teacher is closely related to teacher effort and teacher affect in the classroom, illustrating that positive teacher effort and teacher affect in the classroom is important for students to develop trust in their teacher. When the correlational analysis was conducted holding the trust variable constant, the relationships between teacher effort and affect, student effort and context, and student effort and ability were significant; however, they became less significant without the presence of trust mediating these relationships.
The results suggest that the presence of teacher affect in the classroom and student trust in their teacher is closely related to student academic self-efficacy. This illustrates that positive teacher affect in the classroom and student trust in their teacher is important for students to develop a positive self-efficacy. Partial correlations were computed among the teacher expectation variables and self-efficacy holding constant the trust variable. It appears that without student trust in their teacher, the teachers' expectation behaviors communicated to the students have very little impact on their academic self-efficacy. Moreover, these findings also supported previous studies which showed the strong relationships between student academic efficacy and achievement. These results illustrate that teacher affect and trust impact student efficacy and, in turn, student efficacy influences students' academic achievement in class.
0525: Educational psychology