An analysis of teacher perceptions of Chicano and Anglo students' misbehavior and teacher-assigned grades



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Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to explore the relationships between overt classroom behavior characteristics of fifth grade Chicano and Anglo students as perceived by the classroom teacher and the grades assigned them by teachers in reading, spelling, English, mathematics, and social studies, as well as in total achievement. Procedures Two groups of students were utilized in this study. One group was composed of 87 Chicano fifth grade students while the other group was composed of 78 Anglo fifth grade students. Both groups utilized were enrolled in public schools located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. As the total group of 165 students utilized in the study was drawn from seven different classrooms, seven teachers were used to gather the data concerning the behavior characteristics of the students. Using the Devereux Elementary School Behavior Rating Scale (Devereux), the teachers rated each of their respective students. As teacher knowledge of individual student behavior was crucial to the study, whole classrooms were used instead of using random selection. The Devereux provided 47 behaviors defining 11 behavior categories plus three additional items as follows: 1. Classroom Disturbance 2. Impatience 3. Disrespect-Defiance 4. External Blame 5. Achievement Anxiety 6. External Reliance 7. Comprehension 8. Inattentive-Withdrawn 9. Irrelevant-Responsiveness 10. Creative Initiative 11. Needs Closeness to Teacher 12. Unable to Change 13. Quits 14. Slow Work Teacher-assigned grades for each student were determined by converting six-weeks grades into numerical equivalents across the subject areas of reading, spelling, English, mathematics, and social studies. A's on a student's record were assigned a value of 5; B's a 4; C's a 3; D's a 2, and F's a 1. A total score was derived by summing the numerical equivalents of the five subject areas. Data obtained from the administration of the Devereux by the teachers and the conversion of grades to numerical equivalents were subjected to a Pearson Product-Moment Correlation technique to determine the extent of relationship between the behavior factors and teacher-assigned grades. Conclusions As a result of the study, it was concluded that the greater the extent of misbehavior perceived by the teacher was related to lower grades assigned by the teacher across all subject areas. Further, for Chicano students, lower grades assigned by the teacher across all subject areas and total achievement were related to greater impatient, externally reliant, inattentive-withdrawn, quitting and working slow behavior, while higher grades were related to comprehension. At the same time, for Anglo students, lower grades were related to greater classroom disturbance, impatience, disrespect-defiance, external blame, external reliance, inattentive-withdrawn, irrelevant responsiveness, unable to change, quitting and working slow. Additionally, higher grades for Anglo students were related to comprehension and creative initiative. Based on the results of the original study, questions arose which were investigated in a post-hoc study. As a result, it was concluded that neither the ethnicity of the teacher nor the ethnicity of the student were determining factors in teacher or student classroom assignment. Further, it was concluded that a greater degree of impatience, external reliance, comprehension, inattentive-withdrawn, and quitting were observed for Anglo students than for Chicano students. Recommendations Considering the stated conclusions, several recommendations for further study were suggested: 1. Study the relationship between behavior and grades across grade levels; 2. Study the relationships between teacher specified behavior and specific age ranges; 3. Study the relationships between specific behaviors and specific subject areas; 4. Study to develop an instrument encompassing a wider range of behavioral characteristics; and 5. Study to identify behavioral characteristics peculiar to ethnicity.