Academic expectations and attributed responsibility as predictors of professional teachers' reinforcement behavior
Attribution theory predicts that the more personally responsible an actor is held for an act, the greater the use of reinforcement feedback. R. Rosenthal (1974) predicts high-expectation students receive more reinforcement than other students. In the present study, 8 active teachers completed responsibility and expectation ratings of students; actual classroom behavior of these teachers and 64 1st- and 2nd-grade students was observed. High-expectation females were praised more freely than other students (average and low; p < .01). Low-expectation students tended to be criticized more freely than high-expectation students (p < .08). Perceived personal responsibility did not control variability beyond that explained by classrooms and student sex. Most of the expectation effects were unmediated by perceived responsibility. These data fail to provide support for either the expectation or attribution hypotheses. An alternative explanation is proposed that views teachers' feedback as an attempt to control the timing and circumstances of classroom interactions. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1977 American Psychological Association.
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