Teacher behavior across ability groups: A consideration of the mediation of Pygmalion effects

Judith L. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigated whether teachers use more good behaviors with high- or low-reading-ability groups. Good teacher behaviors are defined as those teacher behaviors experts judged likely to increase pupil reading performance. Each of 15 2nd-grade Catholic school teachers' top- and bottom-reading-group sessions were observed and were tape-recorded 3 times. A total of 90 reading-group sessions were analyzed (15 Teachers * Reading Groups * 3 Sessions = 90). The difference between good teacher behaviors with the top and bottom reading group was compared by means of the correlated t test. It was found that teachers generally treated the 2 reading groups the same with respect to the good behaviors (i.e., teachers treated the 2 ability groups similarly with respect to amount and quality of reading group time, number of reading group materials, and number of good verbal behaviors). Teachers did show preferential treatment to the bottom reading group by placing fewer pupils in that group. Findings indicate that teacher behavior may not be adversely affected by teacher expectation. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-353
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1974


  • teacher expectations & behavior, reading performance, 2nd graders with high vs low reading ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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