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Teachers’ academic and behavioral expectations and girls’ pubertal development: Does the classroom learning environment matter?

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Experiencing puberty earlier than one’s peers has been linked with behavioral and academic problems in school, particularly among girls. Previously, we reported that practicing elementary school teachers expect girls who develop early to have more academic and social problems in the future, with girls’ race exacerbating these effects (Carter et al. 2017). The present study extends this previous research by examining whether characteristics within classroom learning environments (i.e., Competition, Order and Organization, Innovation, and Rule Clarity) affect the extent to which teachers use girls’ race and pubertal timing as a basis for their expectations. Practicing elementary school teachers (N = 220; Mage = 43 years; 91% female; 84% White) were randomly shown behavioral vignettes in two conditions (academic, externalizing) with drawings of fourth-grade Black and White pubertal-age girls, and were asked to report their academic and social expectations of the girls shown in the vignettes. Findings highlight the nuanced ways that classroom environments, girls’ race, and pubertal timing influence educators’ expectations. For example, in the academic condition, teachers who were highly innovative and orderly in the classroom expected Black relative to White early-developing girls to have more problems acquiring and using information (i.e., academic problems); however, White late-developing girls were expected to have more problems acquiring and using information. Conversely, in the externalizing condition, teachers who were highly innovative and orderly in the classroom expected Black late-developing girls to have more problems interacting and relating to others (i.e., social problems). These results highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach to studying race, biological sex, and puberty-related effects in schools.
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Soc Psychol Educ (2018) 21:973–1000
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-018-9450-1
1 3
Teachers’ academic andbehavioral expectations
andgirls’ pubertal development: Does theclassroom
learning environment matter?
RonaCarter1 · FaheemahN.Mustafaa2· SeannaLeath3·
SherettaT.Butler‑Barnes4
Received: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2018 / Published online: 25 May 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract Experiencing puberty earlier than one’s peers has been linked with
behavioral and academic problems in school, particularly among girls. Previously,
we reported that practicing elementary school teachers expect girls who develop
early to have more academic and social problems in the future, with girls’ race exac-
erbating these effects (Carter et al. 2017). The present study extends this previous
research by examining whether characteristics within classroom learning environ-
ments (i.e., Competition, Order and Organization, Innovation, and Rule Clarity)
affect the extent to which teachers use girls’ race and pubertal timing as a basis for
their expectations. Practicing elementary school teachers (N = 220; Mage = 43 years;
91% female; 84% White) were randomly shown behavioral vignettes in two con-
ditions (academic, externalizing) with drawings of fourth-grade Black and White
pubertal-age girls, and were asked to report their academic and social expectations
* Rona Carter
ronac@umich.edu
Faheemah N. Mustafaa
fmustafaa@berkeley.edu
Seanna Leath
scadel@umich.edu
Sheretta T. Butler-Barnes
sbarnes22@wustl.edu
1 Department ofPsychology, University ofMichigan, 530 Church Street; 2243 East Hall,
AnnArbor, MI48109, USA
2 Department ofPsychology, University ofCalifornia-Berkeley, 4201 Tolman Hall, Berkeley,
CA94720, USA
3 School ofEducation, University ofMichigan, University Avenue; Room 1400 F, 610 E,
AnnArbor, MI48109-1259, USA
4 George Warren Brown School ofSocial Work, Washington University inSt. Louis, One
Brookings Drive, Campus Box1196, St.Louis, MO63130, USA
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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