A sociometric study of group relations in a fourth grade classroom



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This report approaches the study of popularity by the method of sociometry—the study of the attractions and rejections which individuals express or feel toward one another. The sociogram gives the index of popularity which identifies individuals who are socially successful or unsuccessful. It was the purpose of this investigation to (1) study the choice process within a fourth grade class of thirty- five children in the Houston Public Schools in order to locate those individuals who were low and those who were high in social acceptance, and (2) to find the relation between popularity and such factors as intelligence (determined by the Otis Quick Scoring Mental Ability Beta Test, Form B), personality adjustment (determined by the California Test of Personality, Primary, Form A), educational achievement (determined by grade points), and chronological age, so that (3) isolated and rejected individuals might be helped to find social acceptance within the group. The children in this group were asked first, to choose those few in the class whom they would most prefer to sit close to, and then to choose one person they would like to have for their best friend. For correlating popularity with each of the four factors named, the method of rank difference was used. The children were ranked according to choices received, the most popular having the number '1.' Each child also received his rank in the class for the factor being measured with popularity. The differences of the ranks were found and squared for the group, to follow the formula, rho = - 6 Σ D squared / N(N squared-1). The formula, 1-r squared √ N-1 was used to find probable error. Although the number in this study is small, it seems probable that the findings do apply to larger populations of a similar nature. Other investigations with similar trends of evidence are cited. From the results of this study, it can be assumed that none of the four factors measured are markedly associated with popularity. It is evident that much more research needs to be done to find reasons for social acceptance and rejection, so that society can be improved through more effective group interrelations.