THE INFLUENCE OF EXPECTATIONS, REWARD, AND RACE OF TEACHER, ON COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN MINORITY-MEMBER CHILDREN

EILEEN SMITH SWEET, Fordham University

Abstract

The subjects for this study were 144 minority-member third grade students from a public school in an urban low-income community in central New Jersey. The purpose of the investigation was to examine the effect of level of teacher expectations, type of reward and type of instructor on the cognitive functioning of these children.^ Eight randomly selected classes were shown eight different videotapes in which a young adult black actress and a young adult white actress illustrated the differing conditions. Response was measured by the Coloured Matrices, the Cognitive Abilities Test and the Porteus's Mazes. It was hypothesized that students exposed to high expectations would perform better than those exposed to low expectations; that those exposed to social reward would perform better than those exposed to tangible reward; and that type of instructor would have no effect on performance. As expected, the results of analyses of variance showed high expectations to affect performance significantly on two of three measures and social reward to affect performance significantly in one of three instances. Contrary to expectations, however, same race instructor had a significant effect in one of six instances on the reward condition. There were no interactions among variables. Boys performed better than girls on one of three measures.^ As a result of this study, it was concluded that in most instances, young minority-member children respond favorably to high expectations. It would also appear that, under certain conditions, these children respond more strongly to social than to tangible reward. The theory that black children perform better with tangible reward would seem to receive no support from this study. Another implication of these findings is that, in some instances, when offered a tangible reward by an instructor of a different race, the cognitive functioning of minority-member children may be depressed.^ It was recommended that psychologists attempt to change attitudes of teaching college and school administrators, regarding teacher expectations and the use of reward. Future research should be directed toward cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as the suburban population. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

SMITH SWEET, EILEEN, "THE INFLUENCE OF EXPECTATIONS, REWARD, AND RACE OF TEACHER, ON COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN MINORITY-MEMBER CHILDREN" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213621.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213621

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