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Student self-assessment and student ratings of teacher rapport in secondary student course ratings

Dissertation
Author: John Wilford Roe
Abstract:
This study involved administering two rating forms (student self-rating on commitment and student rating of teacher rapport) to approximately 1,400 secondary students taught by 12 different teachers at two different high school Latter-day Saint (LDS) released time seminaries along the Wasatch Front in Utah. Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) function within the Church Educational System (CES) of the LDS Church, providing religious education for secondary students between the ages of 14-18. The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between student, teacher, and course characteristics on student ratings of teacher rapport and to explore a possible relationship between student self-assessments on their own commitment to learning with student ratings on their rapport with their teacher. Evidence suggests that teacher characteristics such as the teacher's age and experience have little to no impact on student ratings of teacher rapport. Female students tended to rate their teacher more favorably on rapport than male students, although practical significance was minimal. Younger students reported greater interest in seminary and higher-grade expectancy. They also tended to rate themselves higher on commitment. A statistically significant difference was found for teacher rapport scores between two groups based on the order of test administration. Group 1--self-first (student self-rating before student rating of teacher rapport) reported higher levels of rapport than group 2--comparison (student rating of teacher rapport prior to student self-rating). Students tended to rate their teacher more favorably after completing a self-rating on commitment. Practical significance between study groups was minimal because findings were small. Further research is suggested based on these findings to seek more understanding regarding the relationship between student self-evaluations and student ratings of their teacher.

CONTENTS

Page

ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................. v

LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................... viii

LIST OF FIGURES ....................................................................................................... x

CHAPTER

I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................... 1

II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ......................................................................... 6

Observations of Teaching: Student Course Ratings ....................................... 7 Teacher Skepticism with Student Course Ratings .......................................... 10 Student, Teacher, and Course Characteristics ................................................. 11 A Focal Point for this Study: Teacher Rapport ............................................... 14 Teacher Rapport and S&I Background in Secondary Student Course Ratings ................................................................................................... 16 Attribution Theory: Dispositional and Situational Attributions ..................... 18 Student Self-Assessment ................................................................................. 21 Student Self-Assessment in Education ........................................................... 21 Comparisons Between Self-Ratings and Ratings of Others ........................... 24 A New Method of Administration for Student Course Ratings ...................... 25 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 26

III. METHODS ..................................................................................................... 28

Purpose of Study and Research Questions ...................................................... 28 Independent, Dependent, and Moderating Variables ...................................... 29 Research Design .............................................................................................. 31 Population and Sample ................................................................................... 31 Instrumentation ............................................................................................... 32 Data Collection Procedures ............................................................................. 34 Data Analysis .................................................................................................. 35

IV. RESULTS ....................................................................................................... 40

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Page

Pilot Study ....................................................................................................... 40 Analysis #1: Descriptive Statistics Description of Main Study Sample ......... 42 Analysis #2: Test of Preassessment Differences ............................................ 44 Analysis #3: Test for Covariates: Student Characteristics with Teacher Rapport ................................................................................................... 48 Analysis #4: Test for Covariates: Teacher Characteristics and Teacher Rapport ................................................................................................... 50 Analysis #5: Tests for Colinearity: Student Characteristics with Student Commitment .......................................................................................... 53 Analysis #6: Tests for Colinearity: Student Commitment .............................. 55 Analysis #7: Analysis of Covariance: Teacher Rapport by Group with Covariates .............................................................................................. 56 Analysis #8: Difference of Reliability: Cronbach’s Alpha by Group ............. 59 Analysis #9: Difference in Prediction: Student Commitment with Teacher Rapport by Group ..................................................................... 60

V. DISCUSSION ................................................................................................. 63

Purpose of Study and Research Questions ...................................................... 64 Review of Methodology ................................................................................. 65 Summary of Major Findings ........................................................................... 66 Interpretation of Findings ............................................................................... 69 Relationship of the Current Study to Previous Research ................................ 77 Possible Scriptural Basis for the Observed Effect .......................................... 79 Suggestions for Additional Research .............................................................. 80 Assumptions and Delimitations ...................................................................... 83

VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................... 84

REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 87

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................... 96

Appendix A: Teacher Rapport Rating Form .................................................. 97 Appendix B: Student Commitment Rating Form .......................................... 99 Appendix C: Teaching and Learning Emphasis ............................................ 101 Appendix D: Seminary Program Background and Assumptions ................... 103

VITA .............................................................................................................................. 107

viii

LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

1. Student Rating on Teacher Rapport and Student Self-Assessment on Commitment ...................................................................................................... 36

2. Measures of Cronbach’s Alpha for Ordered Administrations on the Pilot Study .................................................................................................................. 41

3. Descriptive Statistics for Teacher Characteristics ............................................. 42

4. Descriptive Statistics for Student Characteristics .............................................. 44

5. Descriptive Statistics for Teacher, Student, and Course Characteristics ........... 46

6. Descriptive Statistics for Student Commitment and Teacher Rapport by Group ................................................................................................................. 47

7. Correlation Coefficients: Student Characteristics and Teacher Rapport ........... 49

8. Correlation Coefficients: Student Commitment and Teacher Rapport .............. 51

9. Correlation Coefficients Between Teacher Characteristics and Teacher Rapport ............................................................................................................... 51

10. Tests for Colinearity: Student Characteristics with Student Commitment ........ 54

11. Tests for Colinearity: Student Commitment ...................................................... 56

12. Analysis of Covariance: Teacher Rapport by Group with Covariates ............... 57

13. Analysis of Covariance: Grand Mean for Teacher Rapport by Group with Covariates .................................................................................................. 59

14. Difference of Reliability: Cronbach’s Alpha by Group ..................................... 60

15. Difference in Prediction: Correlations Between Student Commitment and Teacher Rapport by Group (Self-First/Comparison) ......................................... 61

16. Teacher Characteristics by Average Grade (Term 2 of 2010 School Year) ...... 74

17. Descriptive of Student Characteristic: Precourse Student Interest .................... 75

ix

Table Page

18. Descriptive of Student Characteristic: Expected Grade ..................................... 76

x

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page

1. Shift in emphasis on student course ratings ....................................................... 9

2. Independent, moderating, and dependent variables for study ............................ 29

3. Scale items for teacher rapport and student commitment .................................. 33

4. Items to measure student variables .................................................................... 34

5. Sequence of test administration ......................................................................... 35

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Some people believe that one of the best data sources for evaluating teacher quality is educational outcomes, such as achievement scores or student-produced products, and that successful education, in large part, is determined by how well students perform on achievement and attendance measures. Standardized achievement testing and attendance requirements largely determine the success and educational future for students. Therefore, successful teaching and learning can be determined by measures of student achievement and/or direct measures of student performance. For classes where outcomes are not well defined or are poorly assessed, observations of teacher behaviors through student course ratings provide the next best source of evaluation data. Students see more of their teacher than any other observer such as teachers’ colleagues, principals, or other administrators. Although, there has been an ongoing debate over the validity and/or usefulness of these ratings, their use is wide spread throughout the U.S. Student course ratings of teacher quality, although relatively easy to obtain, have questionable utility. Student course ratings have been studied for years (predominantly at the university level). Student ratings of instruction were first introduced to North American universities in the mid-1920s (Doyle, 1983), and have been the subject of much research since that time. There are multiple interpretations regarding the validity of student course ratings and how they might be used to improve teaching and learning. For example, Greenwald (1997) suggested that student course ratings have gone from being

2

severely questioned in the 1970s to being viewed in most expert opinion as reasonably valid and reliable by the early 1980s, with this view presumably continuing to the present day. Other teachers remain skeptical about student course ratings and whether these ratings are both valid and useful. Some argue that student ratings are actually biased by various factors that are unrelated to a teacher’s performance (Marsh & Overall, 1979; Wilson, 1998), including grade expectancy, precourse student interest, and course difficulty. Others feel that although such biasing factors do exist, they are minimal (Feldman, 1978; McKeachie, 1979), particularly when evaluations are well written and administered correctly (Marsh, 1984). This ongoing controversy has affected the perceived credibility and usefulness of student course ratings; particularly when they are used to help make important administrative decisions (McKeachie, 1997a). The questionable utility of student course ratings is especially true for elective classrooms where less student commitment is expected for high grades. That is, there is a tendency for students in elective classes to demonstrate high teacher approval (teacher rapport) with little discrimination of teacher behaviors that would provide useful feedback to the teacher or their supervisor. Kohlan (1973) found that teacher characteristics dealing with aspects of rapport were more stable over time than other course characteristics, while upperclassmen, females, and students with higher GPAs all tended to rate teachers more positively. Although student course ratings can provide helpful information for teachers and administrators, student self-assessment can also provide helpful information to teachers

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and administrators as well as the students themselves to enhance their learning. According to the actor/observer perspective bias under the attribution theory (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992), this study suggests that students are more likely to consider their own poor behaviors based on specific personal situational factors rather than general dispositional factors that are often attributed to the behavior of others. Thus, students might be more thoughtful and critical when rating their teacher. This actor/observer perspective bias under Attribution Theory may provide further understanding as to why students would rate their teachers with a more thoughtful and critical rating (see literature review). This study suggests that giving students an opportunity to complete a self-rating on their commitment to learning prior to their teacher rating would foster student self-awareness and encourage introspection and, as a result, the student would demonstrate a more thoughtful perception of their teacher, thus, have a significant influence on the teacher rating. A significant amount of research has been conducted to broaden current understanding between teacher or employee self-ratings and ratings of others, both in education and in business management (see literature review). What is not clear is whether students experiencing self-assessment will allow the consideration of poor teacher behavior without general dispositional attributions. Various aspects of student self-assessment have shown to be very beneficial to educational aspects of learning (Costa & Kallick, 2004; Olina & Sullivan, 2004; Ross, 2006; Stiggins, 1998, 1999; Vos, 2000). One important aspect of self-assessment and professional development is to compare an individual’s self-rating on performance with how others rate that

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performance (i.e., supervisor, colleague, etc). Teacher self-assessments have been compared to student ratings to measure the extent of correlation between them. A significant amount of research has been conducted to broaden current understanding between self-ratings and ratings of others, both in education with teacher self-ratings and ratings of others (Boud & Falchikov, 1989; Braskamp, Caulley, & Costin, 1979; Centra, 1973; Feldman, 1988, 1989), and with superior and subordinate ratings by business management (Atwater & Yammarino, 1992; Baird, 1977; Drory, 1988; Furnham & Stringfield, 1998; George & Smith, 1990; Heneman, 1974; London & Wohlers, 1991; Meyer, 1980; Reid & Levy, 1997). If student self-assessment allows the consideration of poor teacher behavior without general dispositional attributions, students could provide a more critical set of observations about their teacher’s behaviors. Students may rate their teacher without feeling they have negatively impacted someone they like. These more critical observations could then serve as a more discriminating evaluation of teacher quality. To this point, no study has examined the effect of student self-ratings on later ratings of teacher quality (teacher rapport). Therefore, this study will examine various teacher, course, and student characteristics as they relate to student self-ratings and student ratings of teacher rapport. This study will also look at the process of administering a student self- rating on commitment administered just prior to the student ratings of their teacher and vice versa to measure potential relationships between comparison and treatment groups. This study answered the following research questions. 1. Does student self-assessment prior to the assessment of teacher rapport

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influence the assessment of teacher rapport? 2. Do teacher and course characteristics predict student perceptions of teacher rapport? 3. Do student characteristics predict self-report of student commitment? 4. Do student perceptions of teacher rapport predict student self-report of student commitment? If so, does order of assessment matter? 5. Are reliability scores of student ratings of teacher rapport different when students complete a self-assessment on commitment immediately prior to their rating of teacher rapport?

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CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Successful teaching and learning in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education is of great importance to parents, teachers, administrators, and government officials. Educational outcomes such as achievement scores and attendance records are perceived by most parents, teachers, administrators, and government officials as some of the best data sources for evaluating successful teaching and learning in core content areas. In elective classes where outcomes are not as well defined or as consistently assessed, observations of teaching are the next best source of information about successful teaching and learning. Research suggests that students express a tendency to give higher teacher ratings in elective courses compared to required courses in core content areas (Cashin, 1990; Darby, 2006; Ory, 2001). Attribution theory suggests that individuals tend to attribute the behavior of others as dispositional while seeing their own behavior as situational. Therefore, students are more likely to consider their own behavior as non-dispositional becoming more self-critical. What is not clear is whether students experiencing self-assessment on their own commitment level (non-dispositional) will allow the consideration of poor teacher behavior without dispositional attribution providing a more critical set of observations that could serve as a more discriminate evaluation. This review of literature began when gathering articles in the Fall of 2006 by searching the ERIC through Ebsco Host electronic database using the search query “Course Rating*” (the asterisk in the search query allows for plural use of the term)

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between the years 1970 to 2009, which resulted in 73 articles. I studied in depth approximately 30% of these articles that were determined relevant to this study and employed a branching technique by searching the reference section of relevant articles. In addition I searched Google Scholar using the query “Course Rating*” (the asterisk in the search query allows for plural use of the term) between the years 1960 to 2009 resulting in 1,080 articles. I studied in depth approximately 10% of these articles that were determined relevant to this study using the branching technique previously mentioned. Furthermore, I queried “student self-assessment” in the exact phrase category through ERIC, which resulted in 205 articles. I studied approximately 20% of these articles by employing a branching technique and searching the references of key articles. Continuing this research approach, I queried Google Scholar between the years 1990 to 2009 using the same search term “student self-assessment” in the exact phrase category, which resulted in 2,890 articles. I studied in depth approximately 10% of these articles that were determined relevant to this study and utilized the branching method as mentioned previously to further my research. Virtually all the articles in this literature review were found through this process of utilizing the branching technique and searching the references of key articles.

Observations of Teaching: Student Course Ratings

Student course ratings have been a major point of interest over the past 80 years (predominantly at the university level). Student ratings of instruction were first introduced to North American universities in the mid-1920s (Doyle, 1983), and have

8

been the subject of much research since that time. Arreola (2008) suggested that the bulk of literature has come forth over the last 30 years. As previously mentioned, Greenwald (1997) suggested that over the course of three decades student course ratings evolved from being severely questioned to being viewed in most expert opinion as reasonably valid and reliable. One notable aspect of Greenwald’s research is the relationship of the number of studies that argued for biases diminishing (from 15 to 3 between 1976-1985) with the number of those studies that showed evidence for validity reaching 25 in 1985 and steadily declining into the 90s as validity became less of a concern due to the surmounting evidence in its favor. To follow up with this research I conducted the same electronic search as Greenwald (1997) using the same search query (student rating* and teaching evaluation*) and (bias OR valid* OR invalid*) in PsychINFO and Eric from 1996 to 2009. (The asterisk in the search query allows for the plural use of the term). This search query identified 83 articles in PsychINFO (published articles) and 16 articles in ERIC (unpublished articles) over the past 13 years. Of these articles, 16 showed supporting evidence that student course ratings are valid. However, in addition to these articles, 24 (approximately 1 in 4) referred to the need for improving the usefulness of student course ratings. This recommendation supports the theory that there has been a shift in emphasis over the past 13 years from the investigation of the validity of student course ratings to examining the more direct question of how student course ratings are being put into practice (see Figure 1). Theall and Feldman (2008) suggested a shift in student course

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Figure 1. Shift in emphasis on student course ratings. This figure summarizes findings based on a query made in PsychINFO and ERIC using the same search terms and criteria as Greenwald (1997). The additional category is the number of articles seeking to improve the use of student course ratings in practice.

rating emphasis in recent years from narrow psychometric studies on reliability and validity to the application of course ratings research. In other words, there is not so much a concern as to whether these ratings are valid as much as whether these ratings are appropriately used and applied in practice. Student course ratings have been gaining prominence as the most predominant rating instrument for measuring teacher effectiveness. Wagenaar (1995) posited that well over 90% of universities are using student rating forms. Beran, Violato, and Kline (2007) cited that student course ratings are being used regularly at virtually all universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada. Among the various sources of research suggesting the validity and utility of 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1996‐1997 1998‐2000 2001‐2003 2004‐2006 2007‐2009 1996‐1997 1998‐2000 2001‐2003 2004‐2006 2007‐2009 Valid 1 3 3 3 5 Neither 4 12 10 3 6 Bias 6 0 2 1 1 Improve 4 6 4 6 5

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student course ratings the most comprehensive may be a series of articles that appeared in the November 1997 issue of the American Psychologist (d’Apollonia & Abrami, 1997; Greenwald, 1997; Greenwald & Gillmore, 1997; Marsh & Roche, 1997; McKeachie, 1997b). These articles support the research that student course ratings are valid instruments. Overall, the general approach to the utility of student course ratings for administrators in monitoring the level of teacher quality among students should be only crude judgments on whether a teacher’s performance is exceptional, adequate or inadequate (McKeachie, 1997b). The ratings are often used to help determine teacher effectiveness, and to make decisions on professional advancement, and hiring. Most teachers have found student course ratings to be useful in bettering their own teaching, although some remain adamantly opposed to these ratings and to their use by administrators in the decision making process.

Teacher Skepticism with Student Course Ratings

Some teachers are skeptical about student course ratings questioning whether students are actually capable of dispassionate appraisals of quality, being too naïve and not really knowing what is good for them. These issues have been addressed in the literature as myths that seem to continually surface with regards to student course ratings. Aleamoni (1987) and Felder (1992) addressed several of these concerns using the literature on student course ratings in an effort to clarify such concerns as myths. Another impediment to their use is the concern whether the ratings are perceived as valid. Arreola (2008) suggested that most often teachers are not thinking of validity in

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terms of the psychometric definition of validity, but rather in their own terms of whether the rating form is measuring those things they think it should be measuring. Others suggest that the validity of teacher ratings is often brought into question mainly because teacher effectiveness has not been universally defined (Chandler, 1978; Marsh, 1983; McKeachie, 1997a), or that the argument deals more with the process of putting the instruments into practice than the psychometric aspects of analysis (Marsh & Overall, 1979; Theall, 2001). As previously mentioned, a substantial effort was made to substantiate the validity of student ratings in the publication of the American Psychologist (d’Appollonia & Abrami, 1997; Greenwald, 1997; Greenwald & Gillmore, 1997; Marsh & Roche, 1997; McKeachie, 1997b). In light of this effort, others continue to debate whether student ratings of their teacher are used appropriately in making personnel decisions (Sproule, 2000; Trout, 2000), and how well teacher ratings relate to learning (Armstrong, 1996), although most of the literature states that well designed, well tested rating forms do highly correlate with student learning (Arreola, 2008).

Student, Teacher, and Course Characteristics

Student, teacher, and course characteristics are three major factors that show strong correlations with student course ratings (Kierstead & D’Agostino, 1988). Other studies show that measures for teaching effectiveness are susceptible to judgment biases dealing with student characteristics (Scullen, Mount, & Goff, 2000; Stanfel, 1995) such as reflecting the social needs of the rater, actually giving more information about the student than the teacher (Chandler, 1978), the level of student interest before the course

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(Marsh, 1982), and the expectations of students (McKeachie, 1997b). Beyond individual biases of students, other research that deals with the student’s perspective of their teacher or course include: issues of grading leniency (Germain & Scadura, 2005; Griffin, 2004), course difficulty (Mason, Steagall, & Fabritius, 1995; DeCanio, 1986; Everett, 1977), teacher charisma (Spooren & Mortelmans, 2006), instructor popularity (Germain & Scadura, 2005), and the physical attractiveness of the teacher (Geobel & Cashen, 1979; Hamermesh & Parker, 2003; Landy & Sigall, 1974). Based on this review of the literature, the following three factors were perceived as most prevalent among potential biasing factors dealing with the validity of the teacher ratings at the university level: precourse student interest, course workload/difficulty, and grade leniency. There are obvious differences between university level students and secondary students; however, these differences are not significant enough to affect the application of research findings for student course ratings in both populations (Anglin-Bodrug, 2006). Although most studies have been conducted at the university level, the research findings have relevance and value in addressing similar issues at the secondary level (i.e., seminary).

Precourse Student Interest A significant proportion of students who attend seminary do so in part because of demands placed upon them by their parents, and many attend because they enjoy the experience. However, not all students have the same interest in seminary, and interest can fluctuate from day to day. Without requirements for student outcomes that determine credit for graduation, students can come to feel that seminary does not require much effort or work. As explained earlier the amount of work required by a teacher and what

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type of grade they assign may factor into how a student perceives teacher rapport. Research suggests, from populations other than seminary, that precourse student interest is more predictive in student course ratings than other variables such as workload/ difficulty, expected grade, and class size (Marsh & Cooper, 1981). Furthermore, college- level studies show that required courses show less favorable ratings than elective courses (Arreola, 2008). This finding may have some application to whether a seminary student is attending because they want to or if they are being required to do so by their parents.

Course Difficulty/Workload When students are enrolled in a class that turns out being more difficult than they thought it would be the course requirements may influence their rating the teacher of that class. LDS Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) have no standard criteria for the amount of coursework given in seminary and Institute. Therefore, this phenomenon is likely to occur as different teachers require varying levels of course workload and difficulty. The research on course difficulty/workload is mixed. For example, when controlling for the grade earned, students who thought the class was easier than they had expected tended to give a more favorable rating than those who thought it was more difficult than anticipated (Addison, Best, & Warrington, 2006). However, other research suggests no correlation between workload and course ratings, and encourages teachers to focus more on teaching methods than the amount of course workload (Dee, 2007).

Grade Leniency Based on a review of the literature, the issue of grades creating a biasing effect on

14

student course ratings is the most prevalent. Arreola (2008) claimed that the question regarding grade leniency is the single most researched question among all the literature with close to 500 studies conducted. With this in mind consider the fact that S&I has no standard grade policy to determine credit. Although a grading system is not required to determine credit for the course, many teachers still employ a grading system in S&I. Some argue in the literature that the implementation of student course ratings has caused many teachers to ease up on their grading policy to get higher ratings from their students. Astin (1998) posited that the average grade assigned at the university level has been steadily increasing over time suggesting that grade inflation may be the explanation. Simpson and Siguaw (2000) suggested that some teachers may actually try marketing (selling) education at the university level through means such as lowering teaching, grading, and course standards, claiming that teachers have marketed education through biasing factors that do not relate to teacher performance like the attendance policy, and amount of homework (i.e., student consumerism). Research at the university level also suggests a significant link between grade leniency and student course ratings (Greenwald & Gallimore, 1997). Further research suggests a medium to strong relation between academic achievement and student socioeconomic status (Sirin, 2005).

A Focal Point for this Study: Teacher Rapport

Important aspects of teaching that should be measured through student course ratings because they are more related to student learning are instructor skill, course organization, and various aspects of teacher-student rapport (Olivares, 2001). Sadoski

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and Sanders (2007) analyzed student course ratings across 5 different courses from the first and third years of school and found that high quality items consistently loaded on course organization, clearly communicated goals and objectives, and instructor responsiveness (teacher efficacy and support). Student-teacher rapport is often measured by subsections of teacher efficacy and support (Gibson, 2006). Mintzes (1980) examined teacher behaviors based on a two dimensional structure, developed in the study, of teacher quality and student-teacher rapport, suggesting that these two dimensions were at the forefront of student course ratings. Of the most important aspects of teaching that should be measured by student course ratings, teacher rapport will be the emphasis of this study. Rogers and Webb (1991) claimed that an ethic of caring is an essential part in defining what is an effective teacher. Furthermore, rapport between student and teacher has been identified as one of two main factors to affect student course ratings (Cranton & Smith, 1986; Erdle, Murray, & Rushton, 1985; Frey, 1978), and therefore can be considered a valuable indicator for measuring teacher effectiveness. Lowman (1994) operationally defined interpersonal rapport somewhat differently from S&I to be an instructor’s ability to communicate with a positive attitude, conduct themselves with a democratic leadership style, and to run the class in a manner that is predictable (i.e., the teacher is well prepared and organized). Furthermore, Kohlan (1973) found that teacher characteristics dealing with aspects of rapport were more stable over time than other course characteristics.

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Teacher Rapport and S&I Background in Secondary Student Course Ratings

Although there is no official policy on the importance of teacher rapport in S&I (Rogers, 2005) current practice would argue differently. This study assumes that teacher rapport is very important in S&I. The fact that over the past several years S&I has placed a considerable amount of time, effort, and money in developing scales that more or less measure teacher rapport in the classroom corroborates that. The history of student course ratings in S&I has been one of helping administration presumably monitor effective teaching as well as providing helpful information when making decisions on hiring and retention. A brief background on student course ratings in S&I illustrates that teacher rapport continues to be at the forefront of student course ratings in S&I. Since 1912 S&I has made periodic efforts to increase the effectiveness of teaching through course assessment. One of the first attempts to increase teaching effectiveness was to implement assessment through merit ratings where teachers were awarded an increase in salary based upon student ratings, when given the necessary rating by their supervisor. However, in part due to concerns regarding the validity of these ratings, and in part from the firestorm of opposition that resulted, the use of such required assessment came to an end in 1969 (Elzey, 1998). In 1964, a 53-item student’s evaluation of seminary (SES) was implemented and revised to a 30-item evaluation tool by 1968 with the main purpose of assessing potential candidates for hire. Research with later revisions of these scales showed that it was inconclusive as to whether the scale measured teacher effectiveness (Richins, 1973).

Full document contains 118 pages
Abstract: This study involved administering two rating forms (student self-rating on commitment and student rating of teacher rapport) to approximately 1,400 secondary students taught by 12 different teachers at two different high school Latter-day Saint (LDS) released time seminaries along the Wasatch Front in Utah. Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) function within the Church Educational System (CES) of the LDS Church, providing religious education for secondary students between the ages of 14-18. The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between student, teacher, and course characteristics on student ratings of teacher rapport and to explore a possible relationship between student self-assessments on their own commitment to learning with student ratings on their rapport with their teacher. Evidence suggests that teacher characteristics such as the teacher's age and experience have little to no impact on student ratings of teacher rapport. Female students tended to rate their teacher more favorably on rapport than male students, although practical significance was minimal. Younger students reported greater interest in seminary and higher-grade expectancy. They also tended to rate themselves higher on commitment. A statistically significant difference was found for teacher rapport scores between two groups based on the order of test administration. Group 1--self-first (student self-rating before student rating of teacher rapport) reported higher levels of rapport than group 2--comparison (student rating of teacher rapport prior to student self-rating). Students tended to rate their teacher more favorably after completing a self-rating on commitment. Practical significance between study groups was minimal because findings were small. Further research is suggested based on these findings to seek more understanding regarding the relationship between student self-evaluations and student ratings of their teacher.