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Eric.ed.gov – The Power of the Pygmalion Effect: Teachers’ Expectations Strongly Predict College Completion

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People do better when more is expected of them. In education circles, this is called the Pygmalion Effect. It has been demonstrated in study after study, and the results can sometimes be quite significant. In one research project, for instance, teacher expectations of a pre-schooler’s ability was a robust predictor of the child’s high school GPA. Raising student expectations has been in the news a lot recently as part of a larger conversation about improving learning outcomes. Most notably, a group of states have developed the Common Core State Standards, which go a long way toward establishing higher standards by setting out what students should know and be able to accomplish in reading and math. More than 40 states have adopted the standards so far. Recently, however, there has been a great deal of political pushback against them; a number of states, including Oklahoma, recently abandoned the reform effort. To look at the issue of expectations more closely, researchers analyzed the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Longitudinal Study, or ELS, which followed the progression of a nationally representative sample of 10th grade students from 2002 to 2012. The ELS has a longitudinal design, which allows researchers to link teacher expectations to individual student data collected up to 10 years later. For some findings, researchers conducted a logistic regression of students’ actual academic outcomes on teachers’ expectations. In other areas, researchers reported simple frequencies. The study showed the following: (1) High school students whose teachers have higher expectations about their future success are far more likely to graduate from college; (2) Secondary teachers have lower expectations for students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds; and (3) College-preparation programs and other factors that support higher expectations are significant predictors of college graduation rates. These findings build on a large body of research on the power of expectations.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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