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Warmth and Demand: The Relation Between Students' Perceptions of the Classroom Environment and Achievement Growth


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Theory suggests that African American students benefit from warm and demanding teachers. This study examines the relation between students' perceptions of 634 teachers' warm demander characteristics and achievement growth in fourth and fifth grades (Mstudent age = 9–11.5 years). Analyses explored whether relations were moderated by the proportion of African American students in the classroom or the ethnic match or mismatch between African American students and their teachers. Results indicated that students' perceptions of teachers' demand (challenge and control) related to student achievement growth. Findings showed a stronger relation between challenge and academic growth in classrooms with more African American students, but no significant findings were identified for ethnic match or mismatch.
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Warmth and Demand: The Relation Between StudentsPerceptions of the
Classroom Environment and Achievement Growth
Lia E. Sandilos, Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, and Julia J. Cohen
University of Virginia
Theory suggests that African American students benet from warm and demanding teachers. This study
examines the relation between studentsperceptions of 634 teacherswarm demander characteristics and
achievement growth in fourth and fth grades (M
student age
=911.5 years). Analyses explored whether rela-
tions were moderated by the proportion of African American students in the classroom or the ethnic match or
mismatch between African American students and their teachers. Results indicated that studentsperceptions
of teachersdemand (challenge and control) related to student achievement growth. Findings showed a stron-
ger relation between challenge and academic growth in classrooms with more African American students, but
no signicant ndings were identied for ethnic match or mismatch.
In U.S. schools, teachers are charged with the task
of establishing learning environments that foster
measurable academic growth in diverse learners
(Zaslow, Martinez-Beck, Tout, & Halle, 2011). As a
result, education researchers strive to develop a
deeper understanding of the instructional practices
and interactions that are most benecial to students.
In particular, the persistent disparities in achieve-
ment that exist between minority and nonminority
students has prompted research examining cultur-
ally responsive pedagogical practices that support
ethnic minority children (Villegas & Lucas, 2002).
Classroom processes and teacherchild interactions
hold promise for reducing these disparities (Pianta
& Walsh, 1996). Yet, prior research has indicated
that the quality of instruction and teacherchild
interactions is lower in low-income elementary
schools, which have disproportionately higher num-
bers of ethnic minority students (National Center
for Education and Evaluation, 2011; Pianta, Belsky,
Houts, & Morrison, 2007). Given these patterns, it
is essential that research continues to explore the
social interactions and instructional patterns that
can support positive developmental outcomes for
ethnic minority students (Cabrera, Beeghly, &
Eisenberg, 2012).
Warm demander pedagogy is one example of a
culturally responsive teaching framework that
describes effective interactions and instructional
practices with African American students. The
warm demander theory was developed from small-
scale qualitative work with samples of both African
American students and teachers, and posits that
teachers who are high in both warmth and demand
toward their students produce the best outcomes
for African American students (Ford & Sassi, 2014;
Ware, 2006). In theory, teachers who embody a
high-warmth and high-demand teaching style pro-
mote note only a culture of academic achievement
by managing their classrooms very efciently but
also conveying to students that they care for their
well-being and hold high expectations for academic
achievement (Ware, 2006). However, since the
emergence of this theory from qualitative examina-
tions of effective teachers, little empirical work has
been done to test the relation between warm
demander teachers and student achievement out-
The present study addresses a problem at the
intersection of two lines of research. One line of
research measures and examines effective classroom
instruction, by considering interactions between
teachers and students (Pianta & Hamre, 2009). The
second line of research examines warm demander
The data used in this study were collected as part of the Mea-
sures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project funded by the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation (20092011). The research reported
here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S.
Department of Education, through Grant R305B130013 to the
University of Virginia. The opinions expressed are those of the
authors and do not represent views of the U.S. Department of
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Lia E. Sandilos, Curry School of Education, University of Vir-
ginia, 268 Ruffner Hall 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA
22904. Electronic mail may be sent to
©2016 The Authors
Child Development ©2016 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
All rights reserved. 0009-3920/2016/xxxx-xxxx
DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12685
Child Development, xxxx 2016, Volume 00, Number 0, Pages 117
teaching practices that benet ethnic minority stu-
dents, specically African American students
(Ware, 2006). Bridging these two lines of research
has potential to create a deeper understanding of
the classroom processes that are most benecial
and culturally responsive to students. To that end,
this study explored the extent to which the warm
demander teaching style relates to fourth- and fth-
grade student achievement growth in reading and
math and considered the extent to which these
practices are particularly important for African
American students. Furthermore, this study
explored the inuence of teacher ethnicity on the
relation between warm demander practices and
African American studentsachievement growth.
Teachers as Warm Demanders
The warm demander theory emerges from a
broader literature on culturally responsive peda-
gogy, which explores effective teaching through a
deeper understanding of learning styles and interac-
tion patterns of students from diverse backgrounds
(racial, ethnic, economic, linguistic; Gay, 2002). The
term warm demander, coined by Vasquez (1989),
refers to a teaching style in which teachers are nur-
turing or caring toward their students but do not
lower academic standards or expectations and are
effective disciplinarians. Ethnographic work on
warm demanders focuses on effective instruction
with African American students and emphasizes
teacherscritical role in promoting educational
equity by holding all students to a very high stan-
dard academically while maintaining strong caring
relationships and effective classroom management
(Ford & Sassi, 2014). Thus, warmth is dened as
the teachers ability to exhibit unconditional posi-
tive regard, convey a sense of caring for students
well-being, show authentic interest in childrens
lives, and demonstrate mutual respect (Bondy &
Ross, 2008). Demand refers to the teachers ability
to challenge students through academically rigor-
ous instruction and to insist that students exert
effort and perform to a high standard. Demand also
encompasses the teachers ability to manage or con-
trol classroom behavior to minimize distractions
and increase time engaged in learning (Bondy &
Ross, 2008; Ware, 2006).
Warm demander practices have been found to
be especially salient for African American students.
African American high school students reported
stronger trust in their teachers when they perceived
teachers as both caring and holding high expecta-
tions (Gregory & Weinstein, 2008). Additionally,
academically successful African American high
school graduates from single-parent, low-income
homes reported having supportive and warm men-
tors who challenged them to succeed (Williams &
Bryan, 2013). African American students have been
historically marginalized within the education sys-
tem, and teachers may be able to use warm deman-
der practices to counteract negative societal
messages and to convey high expectations for suc-
cess in school.
Moreover, several qualitative studies have sug-
gested that African American teachers might better
exhibit warm demander teaching style than Cau-
casian teachers because they draw upon a shared
cultural history with African American students
(e.g., Cholewa, Goodman, West-Olatunji, & Ama-
tea, 2014; Ford & Sassi, 2014; Irvine, 2002; Ware,
2006). A shared ethnic or cultural background can
contribute to positive studentteacher relationships
because students have the opportunity to view their
teacher as a role model who is racially similar to
themselves (Dee, 2005). Furthermore, some theorize
that African American students are able to perceive
cultural commonalities between themselves and
their teacher, contributing to a lower risk for nega-
tive expectancy effects and stereotype threat when
an ethnic match exists (Dee, 2005). Teachersper-
ceptions of students may also be inuenced by eth-
nic match or mismatch. For example, prior studies
of elementary and middle school samples indicated
that Caucasian teachers were more likely to report
a higher prevalence of problems among ethnic
minority students (e.g., inattention, lack of home-
work completion, difculty following directions,
disorganized home environment) than teachers of
similar ethnic minority backgrounds (Dee, 2005;
Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, & Cox, 2000). Given that
warm demander theory originated from observa-
tions of African American teachers and students,
ethnic match may be an important consideration in
understanding the practices of warm demanding
Important qualitative work generated the warm
demander theory based on observations of African
American students and teachers. An essential next
step for the warm demander theory is to better
understand the inuence of these practices on stu-
dent achievement outcomes in a large and diverse
sample of students. Validation of this pedagogical
style is important to improve teacher preparation
and professional development. Current views of
cultural competence emphasize that teachers hold
high expectations for students regardless of stu-
dentsbackground characteristics (Ladson-Billings,
2 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
2009). Enhanced empirical understanding of the
warm demander style may provide important
nuance for future recommendations. Specically,
establishing links between warm demander teach-
ing style and student academic growth may lead to
interventions to reduce racial academic disparities.
Unfortunately, there is no quantitative measure
of warm demandingness. However, the widely
used Tripod Survey (Ferguson, 2008) is a valid tool
that can be used reliably to operationalize key
facets of the theory. The Tripod uses student-report
data to measure teacherslevel of academic chal-
lenge, classroom control, and careall aspects of
the warm demander teaching style.
Considering the Student Perspective
Studentsperception of their experiences in the
classroom provides a unique lens for measuring
classroom quality. Two students sitting in the same
classroom may have very different experiences. Stu-
dentsexperiences vary because each student con-
stantly appraises his or her immediate context or
environment (e.g., classrooms, teachers, peers).
These subjective appraisals lead students to either
engage in or avoid the available learning opportuni-
ties (Skinner, Kindermann, Connell, & Wellborn,
2009). When measures are designed well and imple-
mented properly, surveying students about their per-
ceptions of the classroom environment can provide
critical information about how students perceive
their teachersability to meet their needs (Brock,
Nishida, Chiong, Grimm, & Rimm-Kaufman, 2008;
Kane & Staiger, 2012). Surveying students is more
common in secondary and higher education; how-
ever, the use of student perception measures has
gained credibility as a tool for understanding upper
elementary classrooms as well (Downer, Stuhlman,
Schweig, Mart
ınez, & Ruzek, 2014; Polikoff, 2014).
Studentsviews of classrooms reect the actual
characteristics of the classroom experience, as well
as studentsexpectations and past experiences. The
student perspective yields valuable information
about pedagogical practices and facilitates under-
standing of the diversity of views students have
about their schooling (Howard, 2001). In the pre-
sent study, the Tripod was used to measure three
elements of warm demander teaching: challenge,
control, and care (Ferguson, 2010).
Challenge, one aspect of demand, refers to the
rigor of instructional content as well as the amount
of effort students are expected to expend on learn-
ing (Ferguson, 2010). Related terms include teacher
expectations,academic press,ordemandingness (God-
dard, Sweetland, & Hoy, 2000; Lee, 2012; Lee &
Smith, 1999). One common element among these
various constructs is teachersfacilitation of aca-
demically rigorous learning environments in which
students are expected to exert the effort needed for
academic success and to persist in the face of dif-
culty (Ferguson, 2010). When teachers challenge
their students successfully, the teachersexpectation
for thoughtful work and high effort will convey to
students they are all competent and capable of per-
forming to a high standard (Fulmer & Turner, 2014;
Stipek, 2002). Prior research indicates that teachers
expression of high expectations and facilitation of a
challenging environment inuence academic perfor-
mance directly (Brophy & Good, 1970; Goddard
et al., 2000; Rosenthal & Jacobsen, 1968). For exam-
ple, elementary and middle school-age students
whose teachers held high expectations for the entire
class made twice as much reading growth in a year
compared to students of similar ability in class-
rooms with low-expectation teachers (Rubie-Davies,
2007). In a large sample of urban elementary
schools with more than 50% of the student sample
being low income and African American, teachers
self-reported academic press accounted for approxi-
mately half of the variance in reading and math
achievement between schools (Goddard et al.,
Studentsperceptions of teachersperformance
expectations may be integral to the relation between
academic challenge and outcomes. Good (1981) out-
lined a model of teacher expectations and student
perceptions: (a) the teacher expects certain student
behaviors or academic performance, (b) the teacher
behaves in specic ways toward students based on
those expectations, (c) teacher behavior alters stu-
dentsacademic self-concept, (d) over time students
conform to the behaviors that are expected of them.
Thus, when teachers demonstrate class-wide expec-
tations for academic excellence, students will be
more likely to exhibit behavior consistent with
those expectations.
Existing research also suggests that the associa-
tion between teacher expectations and student
achievement may be stronger for African American
students than for their Caucasian peers (Jussim,
Eccles, & Madon, 1996). By fourth grade, students
have the ability to recognize that teachers can hold
differential beliefs about their academic ability and
that those expectations may relate to students
group membership (McKown & Weinstein, 2003).
Warmth and Demand 3
For example, one study examined elementary stu-
dentsacademic trajectories to determine if their
present teacher had lower expectations for perfor-
mance than was reasonable given their previous
academic track record. Results indicated that teach-
ers who held lower expectations, or underestimated
student ability, had a more deleterious effect on the
academic performance of African American stu-
dents than their Caucasian peers (McKown & Wein-
stein, 2002). As the Good (1981) model posited,
expectations can have a powerful inuence on stu-
dent performance. The ndings from McKown and
Weinstein (2002) underscore the ways in which
high expectations may be especially supportive for
African American students. In addition to chal-
lenge, it is important to understand how classroom
control, the second aspect of demand in warm
demander teaching, inuences outcomes.
Teachers who demonstrate effective management
or control of the classroom establish clear routines
and have higher levels of student productivity
(Pianta & Hamre, 2009). Classroom control is char-
acterized by teachersability to redirect off-task or
disruptive behavior in ways that do not upset stu-
dentsfocus and the ow of a lesson (Ferguson,
2010). Generally, teachers who take a proactive
approach to management (i.e., use clear guidance
about behavioral expectations, take time to establish
routines and classroom rules) tend to have more
well-managed classrooms across grade levels and
school contexts (Woolfolk Hoy & Weinstein, 2011).
Positive management strategies can help to improve
studentsability to regulate their own behavior
(Rimm-Kaufman, Curby, Grimm, Nathanson, &
Brock, 2009), which, in turn, supports academic
achievement (e.g., Ponitz, Rimm-Kaufman, Grimm,
& Curby, 2009). Studentsperception of teachers
classroom management is critical to examine with
ethnic minority student populations given that
research has revealed inequitable disciplinary out-
comes for African American students, and for male
students in particular (Gregory & Weinstein, 2008;
Silva, Langhout, Kohfeldt, & Gurrola, 2015). In light
of these disparities, it is valuable to gain deeper
insight into African American studentsperceptions
of classroom management and how those percep-
tions relate to outcomes. However, limited research
has been done in this area.
Most research examines teachersperceptions of
their own classroom management (e.g., Clunies-
Ross, Little, & Kienhuis, 2008; Mitchell, Bradshaw,
& Leaf, 2010) or observed indicators of high-quality
classroom management strategies (e.g., Pianta &
Hamre, 2009; Rimm-Kaufman et al., 2009). A few
studies have explored studentsperceptions of
classroom management and their relation to aca-
demic outcomes. In one qualitative study of middle
and high school students, aspects of classroom
management that were most salient to students
included their teachersability to clearly convey
rules, expectations, and consequences for misbehav-
ior. The degree to which the teacher was caring also
emerged, warranting further discussion below
(Cothran, Kulinna, & Garrahy, 2003).
Caring teachers, by denition, establish a class-
room climate in which students feel emotionally
safe and sense that their teacher is concerned for
their well-being and future success. Caring teachers
not only demonstrate positive interpersonal interac-
tions with students, but they also foster an environ-
ment in which students feel they can take academic
risks (Ferguson, 2010; Reyes, Brackett, Rivers,
White, & Salovey, 2012; Rimm-Kaufman & Chiu,
Caring teachers may be particularly benecial to
children who experience social inequities in the
education system (e.g., low income background,
membership in a minority group). Howard (2001)
found that African American elementary students
preferred learning environments in which they per-
ceived their teacher as caring. Roorda, Koomen,
Spilt, and Oort (2011) found that the magnitude of
the relation between teacherchild relationships and
achievement in a classroom increased as the num-
ber of students from low-socioeconomic status and
ethnic minority backgrounds increased. Students
perceptions of teacherscare has also been linked to
engagement and motivation in elementary and sec-
ondary grades (e.g., Klem & Connell, 2004; Went-
zel, 1997). Less is known about the direct relation
between studentsperceptions of teacherscaring
behaviors, or warmth, and studentsacademic
growth in math and reading in upper elementary
grades, particularly when examined simultaneously
with teacherslevel of demand (i.e., challenge and
Developmental Signicance
The fourth and fth grades, which span middle
childhood to early adolescence, are important years
in which to examine perceptions of the learning
4 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
environment. During this phase of development,
students transition physically, emotionally, and psy-
chologically into adolescence and also prepare for
an environmental transition from elementary to
middle school. Childrens sense of identity and
need for autonomy advance, and social relation-
ships and interactions with peers and adults
change, as well (Eccles, 1999). As children forge
their individuality, race and culture often come to
the forefront of their experiences and they begin to
understand their own cultural background within a
broader social context (McKown & Weinstein,
Childrens academic self-concept is also forming
rapidly during this stage and their interactions
with teachers and experiences of success or failure
within the school system have greater leverage in
shaping their long-term identity as a student
(Eccles, 1999). For some children, ethnic identity
may be signaling one message of what is expected
of them in school while educators may be convey-
ing a different message, particularly through the
expression of academic expectations. As such,
teacherswarm demander style has the potential
to be vital in helping students at this developmen-
tal stage establish a positive academic identity
and, in turn, support greater achievement. Taken
together, this sensitive phase of development
includes a complex interplay of personal develop-
ment, ethnic background, and classroom experi-
Goals of the Current Study
The present study tests two propositions of the
warm demander theory: (a) that warm and
demanding interactions relate to positive develop-
mental outcomes for fourth- and fth-grade African
American students, and (b) that African American
teachers may be particularly effective warm deman-
ders (Irvine, 2002). We test the warm demander
theory by examining the combination of challenge,
control, and care and its relation to achievement
growth on both high- and low-stakes math and
reading assessments. In doing so, we rely on the
studentsperception of challenge, control, and care
because of the unique perspective they bring to
understanding day-to-day classroom life. We pur-
sued three research questions: (a) Do studentsper-
ceptions of teachers as warm demanders, as
measured by challenge, control, and care relate to
student achievement growth? (b) Is the relation
between studentsperceptions of teacherswarmth
and demand and student achievement growth
moderated by the proportion of African American
students in the classroom? (c) Is the relation
between studentsperceptions of teacherswarmth
and demand and student achievement growth in a
subsample of classrooms with predominantly Afri-
can American students (>80%) moderated by the
ethnic match or mismatch between an African
American teacher and students?
We hypothesized that studentsperceptions of
their teachers as warm demanders would relate
positively to student achievement growth in fourth-
and fth-grade elementary classrooms. Consistent
with the warm demander theory, we hypothesized
that the proportion of African American students in
the classroom would moderate this relation, such
that the warm demander characteristics would be
more important for African American studentsaca-
demic growth than non-African American students.
We also hypothesized that the presence of an Afri-
can American teacher (ethnic match) would
strengthen the relation between warm demander
characteristics and academic growth in classrooms
with predominantly African American students. We
expected ethnic mismatch would attenuate this rela-
This study used data from the 1st year of the 2-
year Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project,
a large-scale observational study of classroom
teaching conducted by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation (20092011). The primary purpose of
MET study was to evaluate existing measures of
teaching quality and instructional effectiveness
(Kane & Staiger, 2012).
Full Sample
Participants in the present study included a total
of 634 fourth- (n=320) and fth-grade (n=314)
teachers from ve large districts located in New
York, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Col-
orado. Teachers included in the sample were con-
sidered generalists because they taught all major
subjects to their classroom students. The majority of
teachers were female, and a little more than half
had a masters degree or higher, with a wide range
of experience teaching in their district (M=6 years,
range =<134). The ethnic composition of teachers
was largely African American and Caucasian
(Table 2).
Warmth and Demand 5
African American Subsample
A subsample of 223 fourth- (n=107) and fth-
grade (n=116) classrooms identied as having pre-
dominantly (80%100%) African American students
were used to explore the interaction of teacherstu-
dent ethnic match or mismatch with student per-
ception ratings. For the subsample, the majority of
teachers were female, nearly three-quarters had a
masters degree or higher with an average of
5 years of experience teaching in their district
(range =119 years). The ethnic composition of
teachers was three-quarters African American and
nearly one-quarter Caucasian (Table 2).
Demographic characteristics of the classroom
compositions of the full sample and African Ameri-
can subsample are also included in Table 2. Aver-
age age of students in a classroom ranged from 9 to
11.5 years (M=9.97) in the full sample, and 9.20
11.5 years (M=10.04) in the African American sub-
Tripod 7Cs Student Perceptions Survey
The Tripod 7Cs (Ferguson, 2008) is a 36-item sur-
vey designed to capture studentsperspective of the
classroom environment through seven composites:
challenge, control, care, clarify, captivate, confer,
and consolidate. All items are coded as 1 (no, never),
2(mostly not), 3 (maybe/sometimes), 4 (mostly yes),
and 5 (yes, always). Composite scores are calculated
by averaging item-level scores. We focus on chal-
lenge, control, and care composites because of their
alignment with characteristics of warm demander
teachers. Correlations among the three composites
ranged from .44 to .61 (Table 3).
The challenge composite consists of four items
tapping into the rigor of instructional content and
the level of hard work expected of students in the
classroom. Item examples include, In this class,
my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort
and My teacher pushes everybody to work hard.
The challenge items demonstrated high internal
consistency (a=.79) and moderate item-level corre-
lations (r=.37.69). The control composite consists
of four items inquiring about teachersability to
maintain a well-behaved and productive classroom.
Item examples include, Students in this class
behave the way my teacher wants them toand
Our class stays busy and doesnt waste time.One
item, Students behave so badly in this class it
slows down our learning,was reverse scored. The
control composite exhibited high internal consis-
tency (a=.80) and moderate item-level correlations
(r=.35.64). The care composite consists of seven
items that ask students about their teacherslevel of
care and emotional supportiveness in the class-
room. Examples of items include, I like the way
my teacher treats me when I need helpand My
teacher in this class makes me feel that he or she
really cares about me.The care composite had
high internal consistency reliability (a=.92) and
moderate to high correlations among items
(r=.44.80). A full list of items is included in
Table 1. Individual student scores were aggregated
to create a classroom level score for each of the
challenge, care, and control composites to prepare
for analyses.
Achievement Growth Measured by Value-Added
Student achievement growth on low- and high-
stakes reading and math assessments was measured
through value-added models (Kane & Staiger,
2012). MET researchers used student assessment
data and background information to create value-
Table 1
Tripod Items for Challenge, Control, and Care
My teacher pushes everybody to work hard.
My teacher pushes us to think hard about things we read.
In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full
In this class, we have to think hard about the writing we do.
Students in this class behave the way my teacher wants them
Our class stays busy and does not waste time.
Students behave so badly in this class that it slows down our
learning (reversed).
Everybody knows what they should be doing and learning in
this class.
I like the way my teacher treats me when I need help.
My teacher in this class makes me feel that he or she really
cares about me.
The teacher in this class encourages me to do my best.
My teacher gives us time to explain our ideas.
My teacher seems to know if something is bothering me.
If I am sad or angry my teacher helps me feel better.
My teacher is nice to me when I ask questions.
Note. Items are scored on a range of 1 (no, never)to5(yes,
6 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
added scores for teachers. A teachers value-added
estimate was computed for each of the four student
assessment measures and standardized across the
entire sample of teachers. Value-added scores for
each assessment were used as key outcomes. The
data included within a value-added estimate con-
sisted of (a) studentscurrent assessment scores in a
particular measure, (b) their scores in a measure of
that content domain from a year prior, (c) the
aggregate classroom score on that content domain
assessment in the studentsclassroom a year prior,
(d) individual student background variables, and
(e) student background variables averaged across
the classroom (White & Rowan, 2013). Student
background variables included ethnicity, English
language learners (ELL) status, age, gender, special
education status, gifted status, and receipt of free or
reduced lunch. Studentsprior year state test scores
were used as an estimate of prior achievement for
value-added scores in the MET-selected assessments
(Stanford 9 Open-Ended Reading Assessment
[SAT-9] and Balanced Assessment in Mathematics
[BAM]) because those measures were administered
exclusively during the MET study. Teachers received
an aggregate value-added score for each of the four
assessment measures. More information regarding
the calculation of MET value-added estimates can be
found in the MET Users Guide (White & Rowan,
Value-added scores are interpreted as the teach-
ersability to facilitate growth in an academic area,
conditional on the composition of students in a
classroom. A standardized value-added score of
zero would indicate that students are performing as
expected given prior achievement and background
data, a negative score would indicate that students
are performing lower than expected and a positive
score would indicate that students are performing
higher than expected. As with other measures of
educational accountability and effectiveness, there
are cautions surrounding value-added models, such
as the limitations of using a single number to quan-
tify teacher effectiveness and the potential instabil-
ity of scores (Braun, 2005). Despite these cautions,
these models are commonly used in teacher evalua-
tions and have been linked empirically to long-term
student outcomes (e.g., college attendance, job sal-
ary; Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff, 2011).
The following section describes the four individ-
ual assessments used to create the value-added
scores. MET researchers designated the BAM and
SAT-9 as low-stakes assessments and the state math
and English tests as high-stakes assessments. The
latter are high-stakes assessments because data
from these tests are used to make important deci-
sions about students and teachers (von der Embse,
Kilgus, Solomon, Bowler, & Curtiss, 2015).
Balanced Assessment in Mathematics. The BAM is
an open-ended mathematics assessment that
requires written mathematical responses from stu-
dents. The BAM is designed to test studentscon-
ceptual knowledge, higher level reasoning, and
problem-solving skills. The BAM measures stu-
dentsskill at modeling or formulating problems,
transforming and manipulating mathematical for-
mulas, inferring or drawing conclusions from tasks,
and communicating about mathematics ndings.
The assessment contains four to ve tasks that take
approximately 1 hr to complete.
Stanford Open-Ended Assessment in Reading (SAT-
9). The SAT-9 is a measure of studentsreading
comprehension of various types of text (ctional,
nonctional, and practical material such as newspa-
per stories or advertisements). Students participat-
ing in the MET study were presented with one
narrative reading passage and asked to respond to
nine open-ended comprehension questions. The
SAT-9 was administered within a single class per-
State standardized tests in mathematics (MATH) and
English language arts. State standardized tests in
MATH and English language arts (ELA) varied by
district. The standardized test formats were typi-
cally multiple choice. Only rank-based zscores for
the state standardized test measures are provided
in the MET data set.
Demographic Data
A demographic survey was used to collect rele-
vant background data on participating teachers.
Local district administrative data were used to
derive aggregate classroom demographic informa-
tion for this study (Kane & Staiger, 2012). Analyses
included the proportion of students identied as
African American students (i.e., selected to test the
warm demander theory), male, receiving special
education, and ELL.
Participating districts were recruited through an
opportunity sampling procedure, which resulted in
six large districts across the country agreeing to
participate in the MET study. One district was
excluded from the present study because it did not
have participating fourth- and fth-grade class-
rooms. Once districts were identied, school
Warmth and Demand 7
principals were recruited and the principals identi-
ed eligible teachers. To be an eligible participant,
the teacher had to be part of a grade level or sub-
ject area that had at least two other teachers to
form an exchange group.The requirement of an
exchange group was established so that students
could be randomly assigned to one of three teach-
ers in the 2nd year of the study. Alternative schools
(special education, vocational schools, etc.) were
excluded. Teachers who engaged in team-teaching
situations in which it would be difcult to link stu-
dents to one teacher also were excluded.
Incentives were used for recruitment and reten-
tion. Schools received a total of $1,500, the use of
which could be determined by the schoolsadmin-
istration, as well as $500 a year to pay for a project
coordinator. Video recording equipment used for
MET classroom observations was donated to the
schools at the conclusion of the study. Each partici-
pating teacher received a $1,500 incentive for partic-
ipating in the study ($1,000 at the start of the study
and $500 at the conclusion).
Data used in the present study were collected
during spring 2010 of the 1st year of the MET
study. No randomization occurred during the 1st
year of the MET study. The BAM and SAT-9 were
administered between April and June 2010. The
state standardized testing occurred between March
and June 2010. Students were administered the Tri-
pod 7Cs survey between February and June 2010.
The measures selected by MET researchers (i.e.,
BAM, SAT-9, and Tripod) were administered to all
consenting students within participating teachers
classrooms. The MET data set is restricted because
it contains sensitive and potentially identifying
information about school districts. The ndings
reported in this article follow the secure data
reporting policies outlined by MET. Additional
information about the MET data set can be found
in MET reports (Kane & Staiger, 2012).
Data Analysis
Regression models were conducted in MPlus ver-
sion 7 (Muth
en & Muth
en, 19982012) with all data
aggregated to the classroom level. The average
number of schools included in each analysis ranged
from 104 to 108, with an average cluster size of
approximately six classrooms per school. Intraclass
correlations (ICCs) were examined for the outcomes
and variables of interest to determine the need for
nesting classrooms within schools. ICCs ranged
from .08 to .22 revealing a shared variance among
teachers within the same school. Thus, the
TYPE =COMPLEX function in Mplus was utilized
in each analysis to account for the nonindepen-
dence of observations through the use of robust
standard errors.
Of the 634 generalist classrooms included in the
analysis, 60 teachers had some amount of missing
data. Of the 223 majority African American class-
rooms, 37 teachers had some amount of missing
data. Based on the missing at random (MAR)
assumption (Enders, 2010), all models were esti-
mated using full information maximum likelihood.
Although the MAR assumption could not be
directly tested, it was believed to be reasonable for
these data because no signicant differences were
found between participants with missing data and
participants with complete data. One exception to
this was the proportion of students within a class-
room receiving free or reduced price lunch, a proxy
for socioeconomic status, which was not provided
for one entire district. As such, this variable was
included as an auxiliary variable in the analyses to
adjust standard errors for systematically missing
data. Grade level and district xed effects were
included in the analysis as dummy variables. Fol-
lowing the MET secure data requirements, district
xed effects estimates were not reported in the
Results section or Tables. Other covariates consisted
of the proportion of students identied as male,
ELL, and special education status. These variables
were included because they demonstrated signi-
cant correlations with either the Tripod focal pre-
dictors or outcome variables.
To address the warm demander hypothesis, the
percent of African American students per classroom
was included in analyses as a continuous propor-
tion variable. To explore the inuence of ethnic
match or mismatch between teachers and students,
a subsample of classrooms with 80% or more Afri-
can American students was examined. If the teacher
in this subsample was also African American, then
that classroom was coded as a dichotomous
teacherstudent ethnic match variable (match
1=yes, 0 =no). If the teacher was not African
American, then the classroom was coded as
dichotomous ethnic mismatch variable (mismatch
1=yes, 0 =no).
For each regression model, variables were
entered in a stepwise fashion to rst determine if
main effects were present and then, to determine
the presence of signicant interaction effects. To
address the rst research question, the three focal
Tripod composites were used to predict value-
added scores. Classroom proportion of African
American students was then included as a
8 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
moderator in each model to explore the second
research question. To examine the third research
question, Tripod composites were used to predict
value-added scores in a smaller subsample of class-
rooms with predominantly African American stu-
dents, and match or mismatch variables were
entered as moderators to determine if there was a
signicant interaction between Tripod predictors
and teacherstudent ethnic match or mismatch.
Raw score means, standard deviations, and ranges
are reported for the Tripod composites and BAM
and SAT-9 value-added outcomes (Table 2). State-
standardized testing data were only available in
standardized form. Correlations between Tripod
composites and value-added outcomes ranged from
.08 to .22 (Table 3). Within each regression model,
all data were zscored to aid with interpretation of
the ndings.
To explore the inuence of challenge, control,
and care on value-added scores in the full sample,
the main effects of those variables were tested in an
initial set of regression models (Model 1, Table 4).
In the model predicting BAM, the classroom aggre-
gate rating of control related to higher value-added
scores (b=.14, p<.01). For SAT-9, the classroom
aggregate ratings of challenge (b=.11, p<.05) and
control (b=.16, p<.05) related to higher value-
added scores. Similarly for the MATH value-added
model, average student perceptions of challenge
(b=.18, p<.001) and control (b=.15, p<.01)
related to higher value-added scores. In the model
predicting ELA, aggregate classroom ratings of
challenge (b=.18, p<.01) and control (b=.18,
p<.01) related to higher value-added scores.
Notably, when included in models with chal-
lenge and control variables, the main effect of care
was consistently nonsignicant. However, when
care was entered into the model alone, it was sig-
nicantly and positively related to the value-added
outcomes. This nding indicates that the inuence
of the care composite was diminished in the pres-
ence of challenge and control composites. Because
the warm demander theory posits that these teach-
ing qualities should be present simultaneously in
the classroom, models with all three Tripod com-
posites entered together were selected as the nal
To explore the moderation effect of the propor-
tion African American students in a classroom on
the relation between Tripod ratings and value-
added scores, interaction effects were tested in a sec-
ond set of regression models (Model 2, Table 4). For
BAM, there was a signicant positive interaction
between challenge and the proportion of African
American students in a classroom (b=.13, p<.05).
Simple slopes were examined to determine the nat-
ure of the interaction. At high levels (+1SD above
the mean) of proportion of African American stu-
dents, the slope was statistically signicant (b=.05,
SE =.02, t=2.47, p=.014) such that the association
between challenge and BAM value-added scores
was stronger in classrooms with higher numbers of
African American students (Figure 1).
Likewise for SAT-9 value-added scores, a signi-
cant positive interaction was found between chal-
lenge and the proportion of African American
students in a classroom (b=.12, p<.05). An exam-
ination of simple slopes revealed signicant slopes
at average (b=.03, SE =.02, t=2.06, p=.040) and
high proportions (b=.07, SE =.03, t=2.50,
p=.013) of African American students (Figure 1).
The ndings indicated that the strength of the asso-
ciation between challenge and SAT-9 value-added
scores increased as the proportion of African Amer-
ican students increased.
No signicant interactions were identied in the
model prediction MATH value-added scores. As
such, only the main effects of this model were inter-
Table 2
Percentages of Sociodemographic Characteristics for Full Sample
(N=634) and African American Subsample (n=223)
sample (%)
subsample (%)
Teacher ——
Female 91 91
African American 40 75
Caucasian 54 22
Latino(a) 5 <1
Masters degree or higher 54 75
Classroom ——
Female 50 50
African American 52 93
Caucasian 17 1
Latino(a) 23 5
Asian 5 <1
English language learners 15 4
Special education 9 5
Free and reduced price lunch 44 27
Note. Asian and Native American teachers comprised <1% of
the full teacher sample. Native American students comprised
<5% of the full classroom sample.
Warmth and Demand 9
For ELA, a signicant positive interaction was
found between challenge and the proportion of
African American students (b=.14, p<.01) in a
classroom. Simple slopes showed signicance at
average (b=.04, SE =.01, t=2.96, p=.003) and
high (b=.07, SE =.02, t=3.11, p=.002) propor-
tions of African American students. The association
between challenge and ELA value-added scores
increased as the number of African American stu-
dents increased (Figure 1).
In a subsample with 80% or more African Amer-
ican students per classroom (Table 5), analyses
revealed a main effect of challenge for BAM
(b=.19, p<.05), SAT (b=.21, p<.01), MATH
(b=.23, p<.01), and ELA (b=.32, p<.001). No
signicant interactions were found between Tripod
scores and teacherstudent ethnic match or mis-
match; only the main effects of the care, control,
and challenge on value-added scores were inter-
An alternative angle for predicting achievement
growth is to consider variability in studentsper-
ceptions of the classroom environment, in addition
to central tendency. For example, if 20 children
reporting on their teacher all have disparate views,
that classroom experience is potentially different
from a classroom in which 20 children convey simi-
lar views of their teacher. As such, we explored
this angle through the use of the coefcient of vari-
ation. The coefcient of variation is a statistical
technique used to measure variation in an observed
variable (Bedeian & Mossholder, 2000) and was
used as an indicator of variability in studentsrat-
ings of challenge, control, and care. Main effect
ndings indicated that higher variability in student
perceptions of demand (challenge and control) was
associated with lower achievement. Regarding the
interactions, as the variability in students
perceptions of their teachers level of challenge
increased, value-added achievement scores
decreased. The negative relation between variability
in challenge and achievement was stronger in class-
rooms with a higher proportion of African Ameri-
can students.
The results of this study partially support the warm
demander theory, with demand emerging as a par-
ticularly important construct as it signicantly and
positively related to studentsacademic growth.
Main effect analyses indicated that students who
perceived their teachers as more challenging and
higher in control showed greater growth on both
high- and low-stakes math and reading assess-
ments. Moderation analyses indicated that the posi-
tive relation between challenge and academic
growth was stronger in classrooms with greater
numbers of African American students. Findings
showed that teacherstudent ethnic match or mis-
match was not associated with student academic
growth in this sample.
Consistent with our hypotheses, student percep-
tions of an academically rigorous and well-mana-
ged classroom environment contributed to
academic growth in fourth- and fth-grade class-
rooms on both high- and low-stakes achievement
measures in math and reading. Prior research cor-
roborates the importance of challenge and control
(e.g., Pianta & Hamre, 2009; Rubie-Davies, 2007).
Appropriately challenging learning contexts, in
which teachers convey high expectations and offer
academically rigorous content, may contribute to
studentsself-perceptions and internalizations of
their own ability to exert effort and achieve
Table 3
Correlations Among Tripod Predictors and Value-Added Outcomes
1234 567
1. Challenge .44*** .44*** .10* .15*** .21*** .22**
2. Control .61*** .15** .19*** .20*** .22***
3. Care .08 .12** .14** .13**
4. Balanced Assessment in Mathematics .44*** .36*** .34***
5. SAT-9 .21*** .35***
6. MATH .56***
7. English language arts
Raw M(SD) 16.68 (1.22) 13.94 (1.60) 29.06 (2.42) 17.97 (5.88) 106.23 (86.97) ——
Range 12.5016.68 8.8719.67 19.5134.63 3.9033.54 5.95521.97 ——
*p <.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
10 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
Table 4
Main Effects of Tripod and Moderation Effects of Proportion African American Students to Predict Value-Added Scores
Low-stakes MET assessments High-stakes state assessments
Model 1
BAM (n=575)
Model 2
BAM (n=574)
Model 1
SAT-9 (n=578)
Model 2
SAT-9 (n=577)
Model 1
MATH (n=594)
Model 2
MATH (n=593)
Model 1
ELA (n=594)
Model 2
ELA (n=593)
Fourth grade .00 (.05) .01 (.05) .02 (.04) .02 (.04) .00 (.05) .01 (.05) .02 (.05) .03 (.05)
Proportion special education .02 (.11) .06 (.04) .03 (.05) .03 (.05) .02 (.04) .02 (.04) .02 (.04) .02 (.05)
Proportion ELL .03 (.07) .02 (.06) .03 (.05) .03 (.05) .04 (.04) .04 (.04) .03 (.05) .02 (.04)
Proportion Male .00 (.05) .02 (.05) .02 (.05) .00 (.04) .02 (.04) .03 (.04) .01 (.04) .03 (.06)
Challenge .06 (.06) .07 (.06) .11 (.05)* .12 (.06)* .18 (.05)*** .19 (.01)*** .18 (.06)** .19 (.01)***
Control .14 (.05)** .14 (.05)** .16 (.07)* .16 (.07)* .15 (.05)** .15 (.01)** .18 (.06)** .17 (.01)**
Care .03 (.06) .04 (.06) .03 (.05) .04 (.05) .04 (.06) .05 (.02) .06 (.07) .07 (.02)
African American .02 (.08) .02 (.09) .01 (.02) .01 (.01)
Challenge 9African American .13 (.06)* .12 (.06)* .07 (.02) .14 (.01)**
Control 9African American .01 (.05) .07 (.06) .01 (.01) .03 (.01)
Care 9African American .04 (.06) .02 (.05) .02 (.02) .04 (.01)
Note. Standardized estimates are reported with the standard error in parenthesis. District was also controlled for as a xed factor in the analysis. Model 1 =main effects model;
Model 2 =moderation model; African American =classroom proportion variable; BAM =Balanced Assessment in Mathematics; ELA =English language arts; ELL =English lan-
guage learners; MET =Measures of Effective Teaching. *p<.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
Warmth and Demand 11
academically (Lee, 2012; Rubie-Davies, 2007). More-
over, classroom environments that are high on con-
trol, such that time is used productively and there
are minimal behavioral disruptions, are more con-
ducive to learning (Woolfolk Hoy & Weinstein,
Low-Stakes Math Assessment: BAM Low-Stakes Reading Assessment: SAT9
High-Stakes Reading Assessment: ELA
Figure 1. Interaction between challenge and proportion of African American (AA) students to predict the low- and high-stakes assess-
*p<.05. **p<.01.
Table 5
Main Effect of Tripod in the African American Student Subsample
Low-stakes MET assessments High-stakes state assessments
BAM (n=191)
SAT-9 (n=192)
MATH (n=199)
ELA (n=199)
Fourth grade .09 (.09) .02 (.07) .05 (.09) .05 (.09)
Proportion special education .07 (.06) .00 (.08) .01 (.06) .01 (.09)
Proportion ELL .03 (.25) .22 (.18) .11 (.17) .08 (.19)
Proportion male .03 (.10) .02 (.06) .02 (.07) .07 (.06)
Challenge .19 (.09)* .21 (.10)* .23 (.08)** .32 (.08)***
Control .01 (.06) .02 (.11) .12 (.08) .12 (.08)
Care .02 (.09) .01 (.08) .07 (.12) .05 (.10)
Note. Standardized estimates are reported in the table with standard errors in parenthesis. District was controlled for as a xed factor in
the analysis. BAM =Balanced Assessment in Mathematics; ELA =English language arts; ELL =English language learners; MET =Mea-
sures of Effective Teaching. *p<.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
12 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
The present ndings extend existing work by
using student reports to indicate that control and
challenge are important and complementary
instructional practices. Given these encouraging
and consistent ndings, teacher preparation and
professional development providers should think
critically about how to best support novice and
experienced teachers alike in developing these prac-
tices in tandem. Additionally, the instructional
methods employed by teachers likely serve as the
foundation for studentsperceptions of their envi-
ronment. Thus, the positive inuence that teachers
demand has on the classroom should be considered
in the context of instructional practices that are
regarded as high quality, such as scaffolding, con-
cept development, and proactive redirection of
behavior. Research on teachersdemand could be
expanded by examining this construct in the pres-
ence and absence of high-quality teaching strate-
Results regarding studentsperception of teacher
caring were more complex to interpret. Analyses
examining the contribution of challenge, control,
and care simultaneously showed no statistically sig-
nicant association between care and value-added
scores. However, as noted in the Results section,
analyses that considered the contribution of care
alone showed a statistically signicant contribution
of care to achievement growth. These nuanced nd-
ings require careful interpretation involving both
methodological and substantive considerations.
Challenge, control, and care correlate with one
another and thus, the teaching practices situated at
the nexus between care and challenge, or between
care and control, may be associated with improved
achievement. Within a warm demander framework,
care and challenge are particularly difcult to tease
apart because one way for teachers to implicitly
demonstrate care for their students is to hold high
expectations for those students (Gay, 2002; Ladson-
Billings, 2009). Yet another explanation stems from
the selection of achievement on standardized tests
as the study outcome. High performance on such
assessments requires academic challenge in an
orderly environment. Simply demonstrating caring
behaviors without providing time and opportunity
to learn, as well as academic work well-matched to
the student about to take the test, may create a pos-
itive classroom climate, but may not facilitate the
academic learning essential for achievement. Care
may play a larger role when examining outcomes
proximal to student learning behaviors, such as stu-
dentsengagement in learning (e.g., Hughes &
Kwok, 2007; Rimm-Kaufman, Baroody, Larsen,
Curby, & Abry, 2015; Roorda et al., 2011). The nd-
ings raise important questions for future research.
For instance, in classrooms that present high chal-
lenge and control, does care relate to achievement
indirectly by boosting student emotional function-
ing and learning behaviors?
As mentioned previously, the demand (i.e.,
challenge and control) component of the warm
demander theory was associated with growth on
high- and low-stakes achievement tests. Challenge
emerged as a particularly vital aspect of teaching
when exploring classrooms with greater numbers of
African American students. Findings related to
teacherslevel of demand resemble recommenda-
tions for culturally responsive teaching practices
with African American students, indicating the
value of high expectations for students of color
(Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 2009).
The importance of challenge in classrooms with
greater proportions of African American students
also has implications for contemporary issues in
educational research and policy. Recent work
reveals disparities in the quality of education in
low-income and urban areas with larger minority
student populations compared to other settings
(Pianta et al., 2007). These disparities have sparked
debates in the education system regarding the
equality of access to high-quality education for Afri-
can American and Latino students (National Center
for Education Evaluation, 2011). Results from the
present study indicate that studentsperception of
challenging instruction is a particularly powerful
aspect of teaching for African American students.
Although the design of this study does not warrant
causal inferences, the work does suggest the impor-
tance of future work on interventions that boost
expectations and prepare teachers to challenge stu-
dents, particularly African American students.
Warm demander theory developed out of obser-
vations of highly effective African American teach-
ers who could leverage a shared cultural
background to develop strong relationships with
African American students (Irvine & Fraser, 1998;
Ware, 2006). Given that this theory emerged from
classrooms with ethnic match between teachers and
students, it was necessary to explore the inuence
of teacher race in the current study. Results indi-
cated that with the current sample, ethnic match or
mismatch between teachers and students did not
interact signicantly with challenge, control, or care
in classrooms with predominantly African Ameri-
can students. This nding is not altogether surpris-
ing given that other empirical research regarding
racial or ethnic congruence between teachers and
Warmth and Demand 13
students has been fairly mixed and inconclusive
(Dee, 2005; Kline, Le, & Hamilton, 2001; Rimm-
Kaufman et al., 2000; Saft & Pianta, 2001). The lack
of signicance in this study can be viewed posi-
tively in that challenging environments appear to
benet the African American elementary students
regardless of their teachersethnicity. However, the
nding also requires further inquiry. The MET data
are rich, but not exhaustive. For instance, the data
collected do not tap elements of African American
culture embedded in warm demander practices,
such as using culturally specic communication
styles (Ford & Sassi, 2014) or referencing shared
cultural history and racial identity (Ford & Sassi,
2014; Ware, 2006). In the presence of data with
more cultural nuance or more varied outcomes,
such as engagement in learning rather than test per-
formance, it is quite possible that the ethnic match
between teachers and students could play a larger
role in the results.
Limitations and Future Directions
Several limitations should be noted. First, the
MET data set is not a nationally representative
sample of teachers and students (Kane & Staiger,
2012), which limits the generalizability of the nd-
ings. Forty percent of the teachers in the full sam-
ple were African American and three quarters of
the teachers were African American in the subsam-
ple compared to roughly 7% in public school
national averages (National Center for Education
Statistics [NCES], 2013). Compared to most
research on U.S. educators, these data afforded a
large and diverse set of teachers and a larger than
typical representation of African American teach-
ers. However, one necessary next step is to use a
nationally representative sample with a range of
grade levels to examine questions of ethnic match
or mismatch. Schools are a critical developmental
context for youth as they establish their ethnic and
racial identity, and ethnic match between teachers
and students may hold different meaning and
importance at varying developmental levels or
In addition to representativeness, this study
examines challenge, control, and care in a descrip-
tive manner, such that these constructs cannot be
linked causally to value-added outcomes. A future
randomized control trial of an intervention
designed to enhance challenge, control, and care
would facilitate causal inferences. Yet another need
is to understand the contribution of challenge, con-
trol, and care on other important student learning
behaviors including engagement, motivation, and
To our knowledge, there is no existing quantita-
tive measure of warm demander teacher character-
istics and thus, the Tripod measure used in the
MET study was the closest proxy for the constructs
of warmth and demand. Important aspects of cul-
turally specic interactions (e.g., communication
style, discussions of shared cultural history, and
racial or ethnic identity) are missing from the Tri-
pod, however. A new quantitative measure of
warm demander characteristics is needed to mea-
sure culturally informed practices for African Amer-
ican students.
Finally, limitations to the value-added models
used to determine achievement growth must be
acknowledged. For instance, there is limited
evidence for the reliability and stability of value-
added scores. Despite these limitations, value-
added scores are used with increasing frequency in
teacher evaluation nationwide. Many districts use
value-added scores to make high-stakes decisions
about employment and salary increases (Chetty
et al., 2011). A benecial aspect of value-added
models is that the data included within the esti-
mate (e.g., studentsscores in a measure of that
content domain from a year prior, individual stu-
dent and aggregate classroom demographic infor-
mation) helps to control for the potential
limitations of using nonrandomized classroom data,
such as the purposeful sorting of students into cer-
tain classrooms.
As mentioned in the Results section, variability
in student ratings within a classroom also was
examined and ndings revealed that higher vari-
ability in ratings was related to lower levels of
achievement growth. Another avenue for future
research is to further explore this question to better
understand the adverse effect that variability in
student perceptions has on achievement. For exam-
ple, it is possible that variability is not a product
of differentiation, but rather it is an artifact of a
teacher interacting more positively with, and pro-
viding more challenging experiences for, some stu-
dents and not others. Our nding that the inverse
relation between variability in perceptions and
achievement outcomes was strengthened as the
proportion of African American students in a
classroom increased is consistent with prior
research indicating that African American students
may be more attuned to differential expectations
conveyed by their teachers than their Caucasian
peers (Jussim et al., 1996; McKown & Weinstein,
14 Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, and Cohen
This study examined the warm demander theory
and showed the salience of demand (challenge and
control) on academic growth in fourth- and fth-
grade classrooms. The work suggests that challenge
may be even more important for African American
students, regardless of the ethnicity of the teacher.
The work contributes knowledge in education at a
time when the United States is deeply concerned
about improving the academic outcomes for ethnic
minority students. The ndings are based on
diverse classrooms and lend insight into how stu-
dentsperceptions of classroom processes relate to
selected high-stakes achievement outcomes used as
policy-relevant benchmarks. In closing, we high-
light three implications of the work. First, in light
of the current ndings, teachers should be encour-
aged to hold high expectations for all students, par-
ticularly African American students in their
classrooms. Second, professional development pro-
grams need to emphasize the value of classroom
management and academic rigor without negating
the importance of creating a caring environment.
Third, the eld of education has many theories sim-
ilar to the warm demander pedagogy that have
been described well and explored using small quali-
tative data sets. The availability of new national
data sets such as the MET study provides research-
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... Furthermore, considering that 95.4% gave a positive score to the idea that offering a diversity of formats when presenting content helped their learning, we believe it is necessary to commit to applying the principle of representation across all subjects because it aids and increases comprehension options. The results support studies such as [39,40], in which students highlight the value to their learning of the teacher providing different ways of accessing content. On the other hand, coinciding with [33,41], the preference for learning key contents of the subject is with written and electronic texts in printed versions, highlighting, in our case, the teacher's explanation in a synchronous or face-to-face manner. ...
... This allows them to reflect on the skills they have acquired and be aware of aspects that they accomplish well and need to improve. Continuing with the results, they reflect a preference for immediate feedback, supporting the studies of [34,40]. Along the same lines, works such as [42,43] consider the importance given to feedback in improving student engagement and learning with the course. ...
... These methodological strategies increase motivation and allow information on learning progress to be obtained rather than from a single final test. This also shows a preference for formative assessment, which promotes the principle of action and expression as a resource to improve learning, in line with previous studies such as [40]. ...
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Guaranteeing inclusive, high-quality education for all requires comprehensive changes to the curriculum so that, instead of creating or perpetuating barriers, these barriers are eliminated. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) emerge as teaching strategies that encourage inclusion in education. This study presents the implementation of both models within the higher education framework, applying them to the Spanish Sign Language and Deaf Communities degree that is studied by a large number of deaf students. For this purpose, a descriptive study is presented with a quantitative methodological approach using a survey as an instrument. Four dimensions were established for designing the curriculum: course materials, teaching strategies, synchronous course management, and asynchronous. After student assessment, the results revealed their high level of satisfaction and the importance these teaching strategies had for their motivation, comprehension, and learning of the relevant competencies. There was also recognition of the importance of blended teaching methods for active learning as a vehicle for increasing student involvement and participation. This study concludes that it is necessary to continue progressing in the practical implementation of teaching models based on Universal Design, which also supports course management.
... Previous literature provided evidence about the relationship between perceived climate and learning-related outcomes from a variable-centered approach. Perception of classroom climate predicted motivational variables including efficacy, self-concept, task value, goals (Dorman, 2001;Spearman & Watt, 2013), self-regulated learning behaviour (Velayutham & Aldridge, 2013), achievement or achievement growth (Sandilos et al., 2017;Seidel, 2005), and psychological and behavioural adjustment (Way et al., 2007). ...
... Gender differences in reading and in the perception of language classes have been reported in previous literature (Hajovsky et al., 2017;Hochweber & Vieluf, 2018). Besides, ethnic background or familiarity with the teaching language can influence students' perception of classroom climate: Afro-American students seem to prefer warm and demanding teachers (Sandilos et al., 2017); students with or without English as first language can differ in their perception of class climate in English-speaking countries (LeClair et al., 2009). ...
... Students with a negative perception of the climate perceived low quality of instruction, low autonomy support compared with others, which indicated a relatively poor subjective climate where the basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness cannot be satisfied (Deci & Ryan, 1985;Ryan & Deci, 2000). Consequently, they were unsatisfied with their school life, had lower interest, self-concept and achievement, which was also shown by previous studies (Dorman, 2001;Rohatgi & Scherer, 2020;Sandilos et al., 2017;Seidel et al., 2005;Spearman & Watt, 2013;Yi & Lee, 2017). They might be at risk of developing behaviour problems such as depression or delinquency, as has been shown by Van Eck et al. (2017) and Way et al. (2007). ...
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Classroom climate has been considered as an important factor influencing students’ learning motivation, achievement and psychological and behavioural health in schools. With the data from German National Educational Panel Study and the latent profile approach, we explored students’ perception of German classroom climate including learning and social environment (N = 4643). We also explored the outcome differences among these profiles and possible covariates related to them. The four following latent profiles differing in perceptions of German classroom climate were identified: negative, moderately negative, moderately positive and positive profiles; migration background predicted the probability of belonging to a specific profile; generally, students with a more positive perception had also higher interest, performance motivation, and achievement in reading as well as satisfaction with school life; the profiles of students in academic and vocational tracks were quite similar, but gender did not predict the profile membership probability for students in the vocational track and there was no self-concept disparity among profiles for them. These results supported individual differences in classroom perception as well as the associations of the perceptions with different outcome and background variables, which have implications for understanding students’ subjective perceptions of classroom climate and early detection of, or intervention for, the groups at risk.
... However, teachers and students may have different interpretations of the same events and behaviours, subjected to bias. Children might be more sensitive to the negative interactions with their teacher, as well as affected by peer influence, thus underestimating the TSR quality, while teachers might want to appear more caring and competent (i.e., social desirability bias) and overestimate the positive aspects of the relationship (Sandilos et al., 2016;Roorda et al., 2017). Nevertheless, both reports provide valuable insights and hint toward the complexity of such relationships. ...
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Introduction Early relationships with teachers play an important role in children’s development and significantly influence students’ cognitive and academic performance. Studies suggest that working memory (WM) is a strong predictor of academic achievement, especially of reading and arithmetic outcomes. The associations between teacher-student relationship (TSR) quality, children’s WM skills and their academic performance have been reported in numerous observational studies. However, the potentially bidirectional and temporal nature of the relationships between these constructs is understudied. Methods The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between primary school children’s WM and TSR by applying a cross-lagged design and measuring these constructs at three time points throughout the academic year. More exploratively, this study investigated how WM and TSR bidirectionally relate to children’s academic performance. Results The findings of this study revealed a temporal relationship between WM and TSR: between WM-related problems in the classroom at baseline and conflict at 3-month follow-up, and between closeness at 3-month follow-up and WM-related problems in the classroom at 5-month follow-up. Moreover, the findings showed a bidirectional relationship between arithmetic performance and WM-related problematic behaviour. Discussion This study highlights that relationships between the teacher and students play an important role in supporting students’ cognitive and academic development. Importantly, this study suggests that children with WM problems may benefit from interventions that focus on improving their relationships with teachers. Additionally, the findings propose that interventions targeting WM may also have positive effects on children’s academic performance.
... The warm demander theory emerges from a broader literature on culturally responsive pedagogy, which explores effective teaching through a deeper understanding of learning styles and interaction patterns of students from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, economic, linguistic) (Sandilos, Rimm-Kaufman, & Cohen, 2017). Warm demander teachers take account of their students' needs, and their cultural environment (Flynt & Brozo, 2009) and they try to establish a caring relationship with their students. ...
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The aim of this paper is to examine the primary school teachers' most preferred Classroom Management style. Teachers' style is a characteristic, which is determined by their values, beliefs and pedagogical philosophy and characterizes their behavior in the classroom. We identified four such types: authoritarian, democratic, laissez-faire and warm demander. The research we present here on this issue was based on two online methodological tools: First, a conventional text-based questionnaire of 36 questions, using the Likert scale, and second a comic-style vignette-based questionnaire consisted of 10 episodes. We used a non-probabilistic sample of fifty-two (52) easily accessible primary school teachers from various areas of Greece, who volunteered to participate in our research. It was found that the democratic and the warm demander styles was the preference of the most teachers while the other two styles occurred less often. The use of those methodological tools gave us the opportunity to compare them to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each one... The comparison considered factors such as interest, time, clarity, effort, innovation and pleasure. Participants' responses indicated that they found the comic-style vignette-based questionnaire more interesting, innovative, and pleasant compared to the conventional questionnaire. In addition, no significant differences were found concerning the clarity, time and effort required to complete the two questionnaires.
... The classroom environment including physical, social, and temporal aspects plays a vital role in the learning and development of preschool children (Division for Early Childhood, 2014) and sends positive, neutral, or negative messages to children through its physical attributes (Yu et al., 2016;Favazza et al., 2017). Positive environments, where children feel psychologically and physically safe, facilitate the children's academic and social skills (Frenzel et al., 2007;Sandilos et al., 2017)) and promote respect, empathy, and positive relationships among children (Brody & Roach, 2012). The Reggio Emilia approach emphasizes the "environment as the third teacher."; ...
Visuals, are significant instructional tools that facilitate children's learning, provide an aesthetic perspective, and contribute to classroom management. This study investigated preschool classroom visuals on walls from the perspective of preschool teachers. The data was collected from 58 preschool teachers working in Ankara by using the Demographic Information Form and Classroom Visuals Questionnaire developed for this study. The data were analyzed with content analysis qualitatively. This study has found that generally, the visuals used in preschool classrooms mainly display children's works, basic concepts, and classroom rules. There are limited visuals representing diversity, especially for people with special needs and most of the teachers use visuals related to diversity and people with special needs during special days and weeks. Finally, the majority of static and non-static visuals are created by the teachers for their classrooms. The findings of this study, which provide a snapshot of classroom visuals from the perspective of preschool teachers, yield interventionists and researchers who work on classroom environments and learning methods, emphasizing the importance of visuals in the development, and learning of young children.
... classes (Sandilos et al ., 2017) . By contrast, low academic achievement was associated with high hidden dropout . ...
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The present study investigated the relationship between the classroom environment (CE) and hidden dropout (HD), and the chain mediating role of college identification (CI) and academic achievement (AA) in that relationship. A total of 1 214 Chinese college students were participants. Specifically, 63.43% were female students, 15.90% were junior students, 35.17% were sophomore students, and 37.40% were freshmen students. The students completed the hidden dropout scale, as well as measures of the classroom environment and the college identification. Students’ academic record of the previous semester served as the academic achievement measures. Road path analysis was used to examine the relationships between variables and to test the hypothesized mediating effects. Results indicated that a lower sense of CE was associated with higher HD dropout. The CE not only directly affected college students’ HD but also indirectly affected their HD level through the chain intermediary role of college identification and AA. CI significantly mediated CE and DP, so that DP was lower. Similarly, higher AA mediated the CE and HD relationship so that HD was lower in students who were happier with the college environment and who had higher grades. Path road analysis revealed a chain mediating effect of CI and AA on the relationship between CE and HD because their joint effect was 0.23% higher than the mediating effect of CI, and 6.24% higher than the AA’s mediating effect. These findings suggest a need for college student development offices to pay attention to college students, particularly male students, in terms of the importance of creating a positive classroom environment and supporting college identification and academic achievement to reduce the likelihood of college students becoming silent/hidden dropouts. Additionally, college student development offices should address the different mechanisms that may influence their reason for dropping out silently.
This study highlights the importance of providing a global education so that students are prepared for and aware of the wider world. The study explored the lived experiences of Adult Cross-Cultural Kids within education, and their cross-cultural perspectives on how the intersectionality of race, skin colour and class impacts life in and out of school. The key highlights include that education needs to better prepare students for the world; ensure that students are aware of people, places and events globally; provide different perspectives and critical discourse; and that internationalism should be embedded within the workforce, pedagogy and learning culture. Participants in the study also highlighted the impact of cultural inequality on their own learning. This study suggests that cultural bias and hierarchy within existing curricula, pedagogy and institutional cultures should be addressed by increasing diversity and intercultural competence to embrace and harness different cultures, perspectives and epistemologies.
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Teacher development of cognitive, social, and emotional competencies has attracted the attention of researchers. This paper focuses on an approach for the social and emotional learning of teachers, as well as students, that originated in China and has been developed by Professor Liwen Ma of Beijing Normal University, known as Integral Drama Based Pedagogy. The structure of Integral Drama Based Pedagogy (IDBP) has four parts: “dramatic game,” “mindfulness and meditation,” “drama process,” and "dialogue and sharing." Dramatic game encourages teachers to become aware of their emotions; mindfulness and meditation lead teachers to be in the present moment; drama process helps teachers work with themselves and others through embodied actions and experiences; and dialogue and sharing allow teachers to communicate and learn from their own and group experiences in deeply reflective and responsive ways. The four structures of Integral Drama-Based Pedagogy affect the social and emotional learning of teachers, their social climate, and the approach of the facilitator.
The outbreak of the famous Corona Virus in the world at the end of the year 2019 has triggered the world to bring major changes to the everyday walks of life. This virus entered Pakistan in February 2020 and resulted in the lockdown to be enforced throughout the country. Just as many other fields of life, the education sector also had to tolerate a massive hit of this closing down. The traditional approach of education based on the face-to-face interactions between the students and instructors went dependent on online platforms. This was a major and sudden switch, which was found extremely difficult throughout the world as well as in Pakistan. The concept of online education was not anything new. It prevailed earlier also, but that was the one conducted after proper planning, which was not at all in the case Covid-19. This research paper first discusses the perspectives of parents and teachers on the effectiveness of online education by qualitative approach. Secondly, the results of the conducted surveys are evaluated in the quantitative part of the paper. Further, the results of both the research types are compared to discuss and reason the overall scenario of online education in Pakistan.
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This study applies multi-level analysis to student reports of effective teacher-student interactions in 50 upper elementary school classrooms (N = 594 fourth- and fifth-grade students). Observational studies suggest that teacher-student interactions fall into three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Results of multi-level confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a three-factor model fits between- and within-classroom variability in students’ reports reasonably well. Multi-level regressions provide some evidence of criterion validity, with student reports at the classroom level related to parallel observations. Both classroom- and student-level student report data were associated with students’ reading proficiency and disciplinary referrals. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for future research on student reports of classroom interactions and their practical utility in teacher evaluation and feedback systems.
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This study examines concurrent teacher-student interaction quality and 5th graders' (n = 387) engagement in mathematics classrooms (n = 63) and considers how teacher-student interaction quality relates to engagement differently for boys and girls. Three approaches were used to measure student engagement in mathematics: Research assistants observed engaged behavior, teachers reported on students' engagement, and students completed questionnaires. Engagement data were conducted 3 times per year concurrent with measures of teacher-student interaction quality. Results showed small but statistically significant associations among the 3 methods. Results of multilevel models showed only 1 significant finding linking quality of teacher-student interactions to observed or teacher-reported behavioral engagement; higher classroom organization related to higher levels of observed behavioral engagement. However, the multilevel models produced a rich set of findings for student-reported engagement. Students in classrooms with higher emotional support reported higher cognitive, emotional, and social engagement. Students in classrooms higher in classroom organization reported more cognitive, emotional, and social engagement. Interaction effects (Gender X Teacher-student interaction quality) were present for student-reported engagement outcomes but not in observed or teacher-reported engagement. Boys (but not girls) in classrooms with higher observed classroom organization reported more cognitive and emotional engagement. In classrooms with higher instructional support, boys reported higher but girls reported lower social engagement. The discussion explores implications of varied approaches to measuring engagement, interprets teacher-student interaction quality and gender findings, and considers the usefulness of student report in understanding students' math experiences.
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This article compares a White teacher's approach to authority with that of an African American warm demander. Ethnographic methods and discourse analysis illuminated how an African American teacher grounded her authority with African American students in shared culture, history, and frame of reference. A comparative analysis makes visible what White teachers need to do differently to establish cross-racial authority with African American students, such as prioritize interpersonal relationships, communicate in culturally congruent ways, link care with justice, develop a critical race consciousness, ally with students, and critique curriculum. The article offers a reconceptualization of the warm demander relevant for White teachers.
Gloria Ladson-Billings revisits the eight teachers who were profiled in the first edition and introduces us to new teachers who are current exemplars of good teaching. She shows that culturally relevant teaching is not a matter of race, gender, or teaching style. What matters most is a teacher's efforts to work with the unique strengths a child brings to the classroom. --from publisher description
Responding to federal policy and recent research, states and districts have developed and begun implementing multiple-measure teacher evaluation systems. These systems generally include observational and/or student survey measures of instructional quality alongside measures of teachers’ contributions to student learning (e.g., value-added models [VAMs]). While the research base on VAMs is large and growing, less is known about the measures of instructional quality. This study focuses on the year-to-year stability of observational and student survey measures, drawing on data from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study. Results suggest that the observational and student survey measures used in MET are somewhat more stable than measures of teachers’ contributions to student learning, but the stability is lower than that found in comparable measures in higher education. Nevertheless, reclassification rates based on these measures are high, particularly when based on criterion-referenced cut scores.
Using 8,265 positive behavior cards and 544 conduct reports for 244 students, regressions of how race and gender influence the allocation of punishments or rewards for students at a New England elementary school with an Effective Behavioral Support (EBS) program were examined. Girls were most likely to receive a positive behavior card for respectful actions and white students were most likely to receive a positive card for safe behavior. Boys and Black students were more likely to receive a conduct report for “bad” behavior than girls and white students. Implications regarding race and gender bias in behavior-based programs are discussed.