Student, Teacher, and Classroom Predictors of Between-Teacher Variance of Students’ Teacher-Rated Behavior

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Abstract

The current study examined between-teacher variance in teacher ratings of student behavioral and emotional risk to identify student, teacher and classroom characteristics that predict such differences and can be considered in future research and practice. Data were taken from seven elementary schools in one school district implementing universal screening, including 1,241 students rated by 68 teachers. Students were mostly African America (68.5%) with equal gender (female 50.1%) and grade-level distributions. Teachers, mostly White (76.5%) and female (89.7%), completed both a background survey regarding their professional experiences and demographic characteristics and the Behavior Assessment System for Children (Second Edition) Behavioral and Emotional Screening System–Teacher Form for all students in their class, rating an average of 17.69 students each. Extant student data were provided by the district. Analyses followed multilevel linear model stepwise model-building procedures. We detected a significant amount of variance in teachers’ ratings of students’ behavioral and emotional risk at both student and teacher/classroom levels with student predictors explaining about 39% of student-level variance and teacher/classroom predictors explaining about 20% of between-teacher differences. The final model fit the data (Akaike information criterion = 8,687.709; pseudo-R2 = 0.544) significantly better than the null model (Akaike information criterion = 9,457.160). Significant predictors included student gender, race ethnicity, academic performance and disciplinary incidents, teacher gender, student-teacher gender interaction, teacher professional development in behavior screening, and classroom academic performance. Future research and practice should interpret teacher-rated universal screening of students’ behavioral and emotional risk with consideration of the between-teacher variance unrelated to student behavior detected.

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