Date of Award

Fall 9-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Third Advisor

Dr. John Oldani

Abstract

This quantitative study a) examined third grade students’ perceptions of teachers in relation to care, respect, help, and motivation to succeed; b) examined relationships among achievement, gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity and students’ perceptions of their teachers, and c) identified the relationship of students’ perceptions as they relate to higher levels of achievement. The research question that formed the basis of this study was: What is the relationship among student achievement, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and third grade students’ perceptions of their teachers? A correlational research design was used to identify relationships among students’ perceptions of teachers, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and achievement. Third grade students from a large Midwestern metropolitan school district completed a perceptual survey designed to identify school climate from a student’s perspective. Secondary source data was collected from the school district in order to ascertain student achievement gains over the course of one school year. This study revealed there was a weak relationship in cases comparing students’ perceptions of teacher characteristics to higher levels of achievement. The sample of the total population compared to each of the sub groups did not demonstrate a difference in student perceptions of teachers with regard to caring, support, and respect. While the findings demonstrated only a weak relationship between student perceptions and higher levels of achievement, additional knowledge about how students learn and interact in the classroom environment can be gleaned from the study. The important contribution of this study is the significance of developing and maintaining classroom environments that support positive relationships between young students and teachers. The student perception data can be used as a part of the school improvement planning process, assisting school personnel in developing strategies that will lead to increased student achievement for all students. Findings can also be used to plan professional development for teachers, assist in the teacher selection process, and plan pre-service and beginning teacher development programs.

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