African-American students' perceptions of teacher treatment and their effects
Nwora, Amy Jane
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Within the educational system, there has recently been a quest to determine potential causes of the Black-White achievement gap in schools. While researchers have investigated many areas related to this gap, little attention has been given to the role of student perceptions of teacher treatment on the classroom school experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate the key role of students' perceptions, and their influence on education as it pertains to school involvement and academic achievement. This study utilized a sample of tenth grade students who took part in the base year of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). Analysis of data included t-tests, correlations, and multiple regression analysis to determine (a) if students perceive poor treatment from teachers; (b) if African-American students are more likely to perceive poor treatment than their White counterparts; (c) if perceptions of poor treatment based on race exist above and beyond socioeconomic status; (d) if perceptions of poor teacher treatment are related to decreased school involvement; and (e) if perceptions of poor teacher treatment are related to decreased academic achievement. Results of the study indicated that students do perceive negative treatment in the classroom. African-American students were found to be less likely to agree that students get along with teachers and teachers are interested in students than were their White peers. Results of multiple regression analysis indicated that race was a stronger predictor of perception than was socioeconomic status. Correlations between perception, school involvement, and academic achievement variables revealed weak significant relationships indicating that African-American students who perceive poor treatment typically have decreased school involvement and academic achievement. Information gained from this study will assist teachers in becoming more aware of students' perceptions and their impact on classroom performance. By exploring student perceptions of teacher behavior, perhaps a greater understanding of the classroom dynamic can be obtained.