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ERIC Number: ED566980
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
Measuring Teachers' Attunement to Children's Friendships, Victimization, and Popularity Dynamics
Madill, Rebecca; Zadzora, Kathleen; Gest, Scott D.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Educational researchers have long recognized that teachers have an "invisible hand" with which they can subtly shape students' relationships. Through seating arrangements, instructional groups, and general classroom management strategies, teachers have many opportunities to shape friendships and status dynamics in the classroom. The primary purpose of this study is to describe the estimation and resulting properties of a set of classroom-level attunement indices. Specific objectives are as follows: (1) Estimate teachers' attunement to three aspects of classroom social dynamics: friendship, victimization, popularity. Estimates must account for factors unique to each social dynamic, such as the potential consequences of overlooking an extremely victimized child relative to overlooking a moderately victimized child; (2) Examine the validity of each index of attunement. An observational measure of teachers' responsiveness serves as a validating index; (3) Identify features of the classroom network that are associated with teachers' attunement. For example, network density and centralization of different social ties could affect a teacher's ability to be attuned, as may student mobility; and (4) Examine teachers' attunement scores at three time points within a school year. Do attunement indices increase over the year? Do teachers maintain rank-order stability? In addition, the study describes how the authors developed an index of teachers' attunement to an individual child's friendships. Participants were drawn from the Classroom Peer Ecologies Project, a multi-year study of teaching practices, peer relationships, and student outcomes. School districts in the Midwest and Northeast provided both ethnically diverse and homogeneous schools from rural areas, small-to mid-sized cities, and an urban center. At Time 1 (T1), there were 2,454 children enrolled in 113 classrooms (37 1st -grade, 35 3rd-grade, and 41 5th-grade). Of these children, 2,056 (84%) participated. Classroom participation rates ranged from 63%-100%. Child and classroom characteristics were similar at T2 and T3. Preliminary results presented below are from 54 classrooms; 44% of children in these classrooms received free or reduced-price lunch. Children were African American (47%), White (28%), or Hispanic (15%). Final results will be presented for all 113 classrooms. Short-term longitudinal data were collected from different classrooms each year. Time 1 (T1) data were collected within two months of the first day of school, Time 2 (T2) data were collected approximately two months later, and Time 3 (T3) data were collected approximately 6 weeks before the end of the school year. The present study uses data from the third and fourth years of the project. Children and teachers completed written surveys at each of the three time points. Teachers' variation in attunement did not depend on the number of classroom friendships, or the extent to which friendships were hierarchical. Attunement was, however, strongly related to popularity and victimization networks. A table is appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 3; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)