Teachers' judgments of pupils: Agreement and accuracy

Jan F. Ter Laak1, Martijn P. M. DeGoede1, Gerard M. Brugman1
1Utrecht University, Netherlands
Cite this article:  Ter Laak, J. F., DeGoede, M. P. M., & Brugman, G. M. (2001). Teachers' judgments of pupils: Agreement and accuracy. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(3), 257-270.

Volume 29 Issue 3 | e1086 | Published: May 2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.3.257

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In this study the agreement and accuracy of teachers’ judgments of their pupils were investigated. The data were collected in a primary school in the Netherlands where 4 teachers and 87 pupils, ranging from grades 2 to 5 (aged 7-10 years), participated in this study. The teachers appeared to make use of the same pupil characteristics and the same scale levels in judging their pupils. These teachers generated pupil characteristics that included sociability, self-confidence, troublesomeness, and working attitude, which correspond substantially to the Big Five. However, it was found that teachers are not particularly accurate in judging their pupils. Except for troublesomeness, there was little correspondence between teachers’ ratings of pupils and the behavior of those pupils in the classroom, observed independently by naïve observers. Clearly, teacher judgments are very important and often play a decisive role in children’s school careers. Higher levels of agreement and – in particular – accuracy are therefore needed in teachers’ judgments. Study results imply that specific elaborations of the central constructs of the critical  realistic approach to personality judgment agreement and accuracy can be useful in describing and assessing judgments made by individual teachers.

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