EARLI 2015


Anna Suedkamp Keynote

To err is human?

Accuracy and Inaccuracy in Teachers' Perceptions of Students

 Anna Suedkamp, Johanna Kaiser, and Jens Möller
Technical University Dortmund, Germany

[Link to video] 

Teachers’ perceptions of students have a considerable impact on students’ learning experiences and educational trajectories. Moreover, many instructional decisions are determined by teachers’ subjective judgments of their students’ learning conditions, learning processes, and learning outcomes. The ability to accurately gauge the prerequisites and outcomes of student learning is therefore one of the key competencies of teachers. Notably, teachers’ judgment accuracy is not an end in itself, but has proven to go along with effective classroom instruction targeted towards students’ individual learning conditions. It is also considered to be associated with teachers’ content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. However, our research is based on a domain-general approach to teachers’ judgment competencies.

At the beginning of my talk, I will introduce a heuristic model of teacher judgment accuracy, which assumes that teacher judgment accuracy is influenced by teacher and student characteristics on the one hand and test and judgment characteristics on the other hand. Based on this model, I will then present key findings of our meta-analysis on the accuracy of teachers’ judgments of students’ academic achievement and other empirical research in this area. Here, I will distinguish between results from field studies and experimental studies. In field studies, teachers’ judgments on students’ characteristics are compared to students’ actual characteristics measured by standardized tests. In experimental studies, teachers are asked to evaluate the academic achievement of fictitious students. I will refer to research that uses written vignettes or computer-based approaches to present information about students. In our own empirical research, we used the Simulated Classroom, which is a computer simulation of a classroom situation. Here, factors relevant to real classroom situations (e.g., student achievement, motivation, and gender, subject, number of students, lesson length, and content covered), which have been shown to impact teachers’ judgment in reality, can be experimentally manipulated. Finally, I will discuss advantages and disadvantages of the field and experimental approach and discuss practical implications of research on teacher judgment accuracy.