Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Spring 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Advanced Education Programs


Art Hoernicke


Abundant theoretical and empirical literature documents how teachers' expectations influence student performance. Labels and self-fulfilling prophecies often have a dramatic influence on academic achievement and self-esteem. This study tests this thesis by measuring the attitudes of teachers toward special education students, and determines whether those attitudes influence their assessment of student achievement on a writing task. Forty-nine teachers from one rural school district in southwest Kansas participated in this study. Subjects were all given an attitude survey and asked to assess a writing-sample by use of criteria established in the Diagnostic Achievement Battery (DAB-2), subtest 10, "Writing Composition." Although all teachers assessed the same writing-sample, half were given instruct ions that indicated a special education student wrote the writing-sample, while the other half indicated that a regular education student wrote the sample. Subjects in this study varied in their attitudes toward special education students and their assessment of the writing-sample. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between attitudes and assessment of a writing-sample. The findings of this study suggest that self-fulfilling prophecies and the processes of labeling may be more complex than the literature suggests.


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Copyright 2002 Michele E. Waskul

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