Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Courtenay A. Barrett

Abstract

An achievement gap between ethnic minorities and White Americans continues to exist within the U.S., as well as between the U.S. and varying countries. Research has identified several factors that contribute to this gap, such as differences in curricula across countries, teacher quality, and school funding. In addition to these factors, teachers’ implicit theories of intelligence may also contribute to the achievement gap. Whether teachers view intelligence as fixed (entity theory) or malleable (incremental theory) can impact instructional practices, specifically the use of performance and learning goals. Performance goals focus on evaluation, ability, and performance rather than mastery of material, growth, and overall learning as seen in learning goals. Research is limited regarding the development of implicit theories of intelligence; however, there is evidence culture may be involved. Identifying specific cultural practices that influence the development of implicit theories of intelligence may provide a unique perspective on pedagogy and how teachers interact with students. One cultural practice that may be related to the development of implicit theories of intelligence is standardized achievement testing. The current study used survey methodology to evaluate the relation between implicit theories of intelligence, perceived pressure from standardized achievement testing, and classroom goal structures and the differences between these variables amongst full-time teachers (N = 45). Results indicated significant differences in perceived pressure from standardized achievement testing amongst teachers with classrooms containing lower percentages of reading and math proficient students as well as significant differences in classroom goal structures amongst teachers with classrooms containing fewer ethnic minority and ELL students. Implications of these findings and areas of future research are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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