Students' attitudes towards performance heterogeneity and their relation to contextual factors

Dotzel, Stefanie ; Bonefeld, Meike ; Karst, Karina

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-601294
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2021
Date: 16 April 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: European Journal of Psychology of Education : EJPE
Place of publication: Dordrecht [u.a.]
Publishing house: Springer Netherlands [u.a.]
ISSN: 0256-2928 , 1878-5174
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Unterrichtsqualität in heterogenen Kontexten (Juniorprofessur) (Karst 2016-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 370 Education
Abstract: Previous studies examining attitudes towards performance heterogeneity have focused on attitudes among teachers. However, positive attitudes towards the school environment are also assumed to be conducive for students. The aim of this paper is to examine students' attitudes towards performance heterogeneity with a sample of 784 5th-grade students. Based on the three-component theory of attitudes (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993), we investigated whether students' attitudes towards performance heterogeneity are positive or negative. Furthermore, we analyzed contextual relations, focusing on whether students’ attitudes are linked to performance heterogeneity in the classroom and to a teachers’ behavior to manage performance heterogeneity. Descriptive statistics show that students’ attitudes towards performance heterogeneity are rather positive. Multi-level structural equation models reveal that contextual rather than individual characteristics relate to students' attitudes towards performance heterogeneity. Accordingly, students in heterogeneous classes show a more positive attitude towards performance heterogeneity than students in less heterogeneous classes. In addition, a teachers' capability of professionally managing heterogeneity is positively associated with students' attitudes towards performance heterogeneity. Accordingly, students' show more positive attitudes if teachers implement rules, effectively manage disruptions, orient themselves towards temporal reference norms, cultivate a positive error culture, and differentiate instruction in the classroom. We will discuss our results and consider implications for psychological aspects of education and learning.

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