The quality of teacher judgement highly influences the extent to which education can provide equal and excellent chances for all pupils. An important precondition is fair teacher judgement, free of (confirmation) bias. Since our society is getting more and more diverse, teachers need to be able to assess a super diverse group of pupils with differing cultures, social and economic backgrounds and talents. The pitfall is that teachers may intuitively rely on a rather traditional interpretative framework, whereby pupils are sorted in educational tracks that do not coincide with their intrinsic competences.
Although teachers often exercise great autonomy with regard to high-stakes decisions such as promotion or retention, so far there is little theory on teacher judgement. Based on a longitudinal qualitative doctoral research, we developed a theoretical model that proved to be a valuable lens to study teacher judgement, taking into account the interplay of rational and intuitive processes as well as conditions to prevent decision bias.
Rational processes are defined as deliberate and systematic, when a problem is diagnosed and data are collected, analysed and interpreted based on objective criteria. Intuitive processes are conceptualised as automatic recognition of cues, based on experience, without a deliberate and systematic collection and analyses of data.
Our results showed that intuitive processes influence the final decision on promotion or retention to a great extent. We found evidence that stereotyping and self-fulfilling prophecies resulted in an orientation to a lower educational track.
Given the impact of teacher judgement on pupils' educational trajectories and the findings that intuition still influences teachers' decisions to a great extent, it is important to validate this theoretical model on a larger scale. We want to develop and validate a survey based on our results with the aim of enhancing the quality of teachers' decisions on promotion or retention in practice. Within the international research community, there is a need for a survey that can be used to study teacher judgement.
Importance BOF KP
This budget provides me with the opportunity to validate the results of my doctoral research, invest in international collaboration and develop future lines of research. The validated survey is an important starting point for a large scale educational research in Flanders for which an FWO-proposal is being developed.