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ERIC Number: EJ1093174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0256-2928
Accuracy of Teachers' Tracking Decisions: Short- and Long-Term Effects of Accountability
Pit-ten Cate, Ineke M.; Krolak-Schwerdt, Sabine; Glock, Sabine
European Journal of Psychology of Education, v31 n2 p225-243 Apr 2016
Bias in teachers' judgment formation and decision making has long been acknowledged. More specifically, studies have repeatedly demonstrated discrepancies between teacher ratings of minority and majority students with similar academic profiles. Studies have also demonstrated that increasing accountability reduced bias. Little is known, however, about the effect of accountability and bias on the accuracy of decisions. This study investigated the short- and long-term effect of accountability priming on the accuracy of transition decisions. It considered both the extent to which teacher decision accuracy differed for minority and majority students with similar academic profiles (accuracy bias) and differences in levels of confidence for accurate versus erroneous decisions (metacognitive judgment bias). In a longitudinal experimental design, we presented 38 primary school teachers with 9 student vignettes at 3 points in time (baseline, post priming, and 6-month follow-up), varying students' ethnic background, and asked them to make a school tracking decision for each student. We measured decision accuracy as well as teachers' level of confidence for each decision. Accuracy and confidence levels were combined to provide two indices of metacognitive judgment accuracy. Results confirmed the hypothesis that accuracy of decisions would improve as a result of increased level of accountability. More specifically, we found that teachers made more accurate decisions after priming, whereby ethnic background differences disappeared. In addition, teachers' metacognitions varied, whereby after priming decision accuracy was better matched with teachers' confidence levels. Although accuracy levels were still higher at follow-up than at pre-test, the ethnic bias recurred. This study shows that increased levels of accountability are associated with not only increased decision accuracy but also reduced metacognitive judgment bias, especially in regard to minority students. It also demonstrates accountability may be an effective way of reducing systematic errors in decision making. Findings are discussed in terms of theory and current changes in educational practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A