ERIC Number: ED161846
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jan
Reference Count: 0
An Experiment on Social Information Processing Among Teachers. Report No. 243.
Fennessey, James; Horiuchi, Shiro
School management activities can be improved by the more complete and systematic use of information on the concrete situation. Teacher judgments constitute an underutilized source of such information, e. g., concerning the distribution of student achievement levels. In this study, the application of formal techniques from management science (probability assessment techniques and structured group interaction) is investigated as a means of obtaining such information in a convenient quantitative form. Using a variation on a Latin Square design, several possible influences upon teacher judgments made in response to a realistic scenario are evaluated. The results generally indicate that application of such techniques is feasible and useful. The teachers' judgments are not greatly affected by the particular instrument format used to obtain their assessments, nor by the sequence in which particular items of information are received. The experimental data also provide evidence that group interaction among the teacher-judges tends to strengthen the influence of their prior beliefs. Other experimental results suggest that in general the teachers are not "conservative" users of information, but that conservatism may occur to some degree when the received information is surprising. An additional finding of interest is that the aggregate judgments of the teachers are extremely accurate and nicely responsive to new information. However, this is partly counterbalanced by the occurrence of sizeable individual variation between teachers, so that an individual teacher's judgments are not nearly so valuable as those of a small group. (Author/DS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for Social Organization of Schools.