The effects of gender on the behaviors and perceptions of students and instructors in the college classroom
Brady, Kristine L.
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The purpose of this research was threefold: 1) to develop empirically sound measures of classroom interaction including self-report and behavioral assessment instruments, 2) to test a proposed interactional model of classroom interaction patterns by conducting behavioral observations of college classrooms, and 3) to assess for gender inequity at the post-secondary level. In Study 1, two instruments were developed to tap students' self-report of classroom climate and instructors' sensitivity to gender and cultural issues. Several test administrations of the student self-report measure, the Classroom Atmosphere Questionnaire (CAQ), demonstrated the instrument to be valid and reliable for assessing student appraisal of their classroom environment. The CAQ also evidenced good internal consistency, high test-retest reliability, and the ability to discriminate between classrooms. Furthermore, clear factor structures emerged when factor analyses were performed over multiple administrations. The Instructor Sensitivity Questionnaire (ISQ) was developed to measure the degree to which instructors are sensitive to cultural and gender issues in the classroom. The ISQ was found to be internally consistent, to discriminate between instructors, and to predict perceived classroom environment. Using the instruments developed in Study 1, a behavioral assessment of classroom interactions was carried out which included 24 classrooms from 8 different university departments. In order to examine classroom interaction patterns thoroughly and to provide support for the proposed model, Study 2 included the assessment of several independent and dependent variables such as instructor and student sex, instructor sensitivity to gender/race issues, class size, student volunteering, student hand-raising, instructor calling on students and student perceptions of their classroom environment. A behavioral assessment instrument was developed to assess various dimensions of college classroom interactions and evidenced strong inter-rater reliability. The results from study 2 provide support for the proposed model as several instructor, student and classroom environment variables influenced classroom interaction patterns. Finally, the results indicated that there was no evidence of gender inequity in the classrooms observed. Male and female students evidenced no differences in their classroom interaction behaviors and were not interacted with differentially based on their sex.
- Doctoral Dissertations