Seeing Eye to Eye: Predicting Teacher-Student Agreement on Classroom Social Networks

Jennifer Watling Neal, Elise Cappella, Caroline Wagner, Marc S. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the association between classroom characteristics and teacher-student agreement in perceptions of students' classroom peer networks. Social network, peer nomination, and observational data were collected from a sample of second through fourth grade teachers (N=33) and students (N=669) in 33 classrooms across five high-poverty urban schools. Results demonstrate that variation in teacher-student agreement on the structure of students' peer networks can be explained, in part, by developmental factors and classroom characteristics. Developmental increases in network density partially mediated the positive relationship between grade level and teacher-student agreement. Larger class sizes and higher levels of normative aggressive behavior resulted in lower levels of teacher-student agreement. Teachers' levels of classroom organization had mixed influences, with behavior management negatively predicting agreement, and productivity positively predicting agreement. These results underscore the importance of the classroom context in shaping teacher and student perceptions of peer networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-393
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Classrooms
  • Social networks
  • Teacher practices
  • Teacher-student agreement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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