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EdPsych Modules Third Edition




EdPsych Modules Third Edition

Cheryl Cisero Durwin Southern Connecticut State University

Marla Reese-Weber Illinois State University, USA





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Brief Contents Introduction

Module 1: Using Science to Inform Classroom Practices Unit 1: Personal Development

Unit 1: Case Studies Module 2: Contexts of Development Module 3: Social-Emotional Development Module 4: Moral Development

Unit 2: The Developing Learner Unit 2: Case Studies Module 5: Brain Development Module 6: Cognitive Development Module 7: Language Development

Unit 3: Learning Theories Unit 3: Case Studies Module 8: Behavioral Learning Theories Module 9: Social Cognitive Theory Module 10: Information Processing

Unit 4: Cognitive Processes Unit 4: Case Studies Module 11: Metacognition Module 12: Transfer of Skills and Knowledge Module 13: Higher Order Thinking

Unit 5: Motivation Unit 5: Case Studies Module 14: Behavioral Theory Module 15: Cognitive Theories Module 16: Self Theories

Unit 6: Classroom Management and Instruction Unit 6: Case Studies Module 17: Classroom Management Module 18: Instruction: Applying Behavioral, Cognitive, and Constructivist Approaches Module 19: Grouping Practices

Unit 7: Learner Differences




Unit 7: Case Studies Module 20: Intelligence and Giftedness Module 21: Cognitive Disabilities Module 22: Emotional, Social, and Behavioral Disorders

Unit 8: Assessment Unit 8: Case Studies Module 23: Assessing Student Learning Module 24: Test Construction and Use Module 25: Standardized Tests and Scores




Detailed Contents Preface

Acknowledgments Digital Resources About the Authors Introduction

Case STUDY Module 1: Using Science to Inform Classroom Practices

Outline and Learning Goals Educational Psychology: A Resource for Teachers Educational Psychology: The Science

Research Designs Samples Measures

Educational Psychology: Classroom Practices Best Practices Addressing Diversity Using a Case Study Approach

Summary Key Concepts Case Study: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 1: Personal Development Unit 1: Case Studies Module 2: Contexts of Development

Outline and Learning Goals Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory Family Context

Parenting Practices Divorce and Remarriage

Peer Context Friendships and Peer Groups Peer Statuses

Broader Contexts Parental Employment Cultural Factors




Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 3: Social-Emotional Development Outline and Learning Goals Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory Aspects of Identity

Identity Statuses Ethnic Identity Gender Identity

Understanding the Self Self-Concept Self-Esteem

Social Competence Applications: Fostering Social Competence

Fostering Social Skills Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 4: Moral Development Outline and Learning Goals Cognitive-Developmental Moral Reasoning

Piaget’s Theory Kohlberg’s Theory Gilligan’s Criticism

Prosocial Behavior Eisenberg’s Theory Perspective Taking Empathy

Aggressive Behavior Social-Cognitive Domains Social-Information Processing

Applications: Advancing Moral Development Family Context Peer Context School Context




Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 2: The Developing Learner Unit: Case Studies Module 5: Brain Development

Outline and Learning Goals Influence of Neuroscience on Education Neuroscience 101

Brain Structures and Functions Factors Affecting Brain Development

Brain Mechanisms During Learning Executive Functioning Reading Math

Applications: How Neuroscience Informs Best Practices Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 6: Cognitive Development Outline and Learning Goals Constructivist Theories of Cognitive Development

Individual and Social Constructivism Piaget’s Theory Vygotsky’s Theory

Issues in Cognitive Development: Piaget and Vygotsky What Comes First: Development or Learning? Role of Language in Cognitive Development Role of Play in Cognitive Development

Applications: Constructivist Principles for Effective Teaching Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 7: Language Development Outline and Learning Goals Understanding Language Acquisition

Biological Basis of Language




Imitation and Reinforcement Social Interactions

Development of Language Skills Language Acquisition Through Early Childhood Language Acquisition Through Adolescence Bilingual Language Acquisition Individual Differences in Language Acquisition

Applications: Encouraging Language Development in the Classroom Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 3: Learning Theories Unit 3: Case Studies Module 8: Behavioral Learning Theories

Outline and Learning Goals Assumptions of Behavioral Learning Theories Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning

Basic Tenets of the Theory Using Consequences Effectively

Applications: Applied Behavior Analysis Strategies for Increasing Appropriate Behaviors Strategies for Decreasing Inappropriate Behaviors

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 9: Social Cognitive Theory Outline and Learning Goals Assumptions of Social Cognitive Theory Observational Learning

Model Characteristics Imitator Characteristics Environmental Characteristics

Personal Factors in Learning Self-Efficacy Self-Regulation




Applications: Improving Students’ Self-Efficacy and Self- Regulation Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 10: Information Processing Outline and Learning Goals Assumptions of the Information Processing Approach Perception and Attention Memory

Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval Sensory Memory Working (Short-Term) Memory Long-Term Memory

Applications: Teaching Effective Processing Increase Attention Enhance Memory

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 4: Cognitive Processes Unit 4 Case Studies Module 11: Metacognition

Outline and Learning Goals What Is Metacognition and Why Is It Important? Special Cases of Metacognition

Theory of Mind in Childhood Egocentrism in Adolescence

Factors Affecting the Development and Use of Metacognition Applications: Learning Strategies

Reading Comprehension Writing Skills Note Taking Studying

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate




Module 12: Transfer of Skills and Knowledge Outline and Learning Goals What Is Transfer and Why Is It Important?

Specific Versus General Transfer Low-Road Versus High-Road Transfer

Do We Readily Transfer What We Learn? The Success of Low-Road Transfer The Problem of High-Road Transfer

Applications: How to Facilitate Transfer Develop Automaticity of Skills Promote Meaningful Learning Teach Metacognitive Strategies Motivate Students to Value Learning

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 13: Higher Order Thinking Outline and Learning Goals What Is Higher Order Thinking and Why Is It Important? Critical Thinking

What Is Critical Thinking? Applications: Fostering Critical Thinking Problem Solving

What Is Problem Solving? Applications: Fostering Problem-Solving Strategies Creativity

What Is Creativity? Applications: Fostering Creativity Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 5: Motivation Unit 5: Case Studies Module 14: Behavioral Theory

Outline and Learning Goals A Developmental View of Motivation

Defining Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation




Factors Influencing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Rewarding Students for Learning

Task-Contingent and Performance-Contingent Rewards Applications: Using Rewards Effectively Praising Students for Learning

Process, Performance, and Person Praise Applications: Using Praise Effectively When the Reward Is the Activity Itself

Flow Theory Applications: Creating an Intrinsically Motivating Learning Environment Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 15: Cognitive Theories Outline and Learning Goals Cognitive Theories of Motivation

Expectancy-Value Theory Goal Theory Attribution Theory

Developmental and Cultural Differences in Motivation Developmental Changes in Motivation

Serious Motivational Problems Learned Helplessness Anxiety

Applications: Enhancing Students’ Motivation Student-Level Techniques Classroom-Level Techniques

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 16: Self Theories Outline and Learning Goals Self-Efficacy Theory

Self-Efficacy and Motivation Teacher Efficacy

Self-Worth Theory




Self-Worth and Motivation Types of Students

Self-Determination Theory Self-Determination and Motivation Becoming Self-Determined

Integrating the Self Theories Self Theories Compared

Applications: Fostering Self-Efficacy, Self-Worth, and Self- Determination Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 6: Classroom Management and Instruction Unit 6: Case Studies Module 17: Classroom Management

Outline and Learning Goals Importance of Classroom Management

Preparing for the First Day Establishing Rules and Procedures

Time Management Increasing Academic Learning Time Increasing Student Engagement

Relationship Building Teacher-Student Relationships Parental Involvement

Applications: Addressing Discipline Problems Providing Consequences Bullying

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 18: Instruction: Applying Behavioral, Cognitive, and Constructivist Approaches

Outline and Learning Goals Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners Teaching Methods Based on Behaviorism

Direct Instruction




Mastery Learning Teaching Methods Based on Cognitive Learning Theory

Discovery Learning and Guided Discovery Expository Teaching

Teaching Methods Based on Constructivism Inquiry Learning Cooperative Learning Methods of Fostering Comprehension

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 19: Grouping Practices Outline and Learning Goals Grouping by Ability

Within-Class Ability Grouping Between-Class Ability Grouping Flexible Grouping Methods

Cooperative Learning Characteristics of Cooperative Learning Effectiveness of Cooperative Learning

Applications: Best Practices Elementary School: Using Within-Class Ability Grouping Effectively Middle School and High School: To Track or Not to Track Using Cooperative Learning Effectively

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 7: Learner Differences Unit 7: Case Studies Module 20: Intelligence and Giftedness

Outline and Learning Goals Intelligence and Giftedness: More Than “Being Smart”

Theories of Intelligence Theories of Giftedness

Assessing Intelligence and Giftedness




Intelligence Measured as IQ Interpreting IQ Scores Assessing Giftedness

Biological, Social, and Cultural Issues Heredity or Environment? Socioeconomic and Cultural Factors

Applications: Intelligence and Giftedness in the Classroom Teaching for Multiple Intelligences Teaching for Successful Intelligence Teaching Students Who Are Gifted

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 21: Cognitive Disabilities Outline and Learning Goals Cognitive Disabilities in Today’s Classrooms

Special Education Referral and Eligibility Planning and Placement

Intellectual Disabilities Identification of Intellectual Disabilities

Applications: Guidelines for Teachers in the General Education Classroom Specific Learning Disabilities

Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities Reading Disability Mathematics Disability

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 22: Emotional, Social, and Behavioral Disorders Outline and Learning Goals Emotional, Social, and Behavioral Disorders in Today’s Classrooms

Special Education Referral and Eligibility Planning and Placement

Characteristics of Disorders Anxiety and Depression




ADHD and Conduct Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorders

Applications: Interventions Types of Interventions Effectiveness of Interventions

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Unit 8: Assessment Unit 8: Case Studies Module 23: Assessing Student Learning

Outline and Learning Goals What is Assessment?

Purposes of Assessment in Education Types of Assessments

Planning Assessments Choice of Assessments Objective and Performance Assessments

Evaluating Student Performance Procedures for Performance Assessments Grading Procedures

Communicating Assessment Information Report Cards Parent-Teacher Communication

Applications: Implementing Valid and Meaningful Assessments Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 24: Test Construction and Use Outline and Learning Goals Characteristics of High-Quality Classroom Tests

Validity Reliability Fairness and Practicality

Test Preparation Developing a Test Blueprint




Creating Selected-Response Items Creating Constructed-Response Items

Applications: Improving Your Test Test Administration Considerations Item and Distractor Analyses

Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

Module 25: Standardized Tests and Scores Outline and Learning Goals Types of Standardized Tests

Categories of Standardized Tests Criterion-Referenced and Norm-Referenced Tests

Understanding Test Scores Central Tendency and Variability Normal Distribution Types of Test Scores

Characteristics of Good Tests Validity Reliability

Applications: Accommodating Students at Risk Summary Key Concepts Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate

How Does EdPsych Help You Prepare for the Praxis Exam? Glossary References Index





Teaching is about making instructional decisions. To be highly effective, teachers need to understand the science underlying all aspects of education and know how to apply concepts, principles, and conclusions from educational and psychological theories and research to particular situations they encounter. Students in education certification programs are often taught the “what” and the “how” of teaching. For example, they may be taught what to do when students are fighting or how to develop and deliver a lesson. Educational psychology is about the why. For example, why are teacher education students told to use a particular conflict resolution strategy or a particular teaching method in a certain situation? The effectiveness of these approaches can be determined only by evaluating what we know from psychological research. Teachers need to understand why particular approaches, strategies, and methods work under various circumstances to make effective decisions. We wrote this book to help students of educational psychology learn how to make better instructional decisions. This third edition of EdPsych Modules helps students to

Understand the importance of learning evidence-based, best practices that guide how they will make informed decisions, Apply educational psychology theory and research findings to diverse instructional situations, and Understand student differences and learn ways to adapt instruction to individual student needs.




Our Approach




FLEXIBLE: A book that adapts to your course. • EdPsych Modules is the first and only text written with a modular approach rather than modified from a conventional chapter text. This intentionally designed format allows you flexibility in preparing and teaching your course. Our modules are succinct (about half the length of a typical chapter), stand- alone topics that represent every subject found in a traditional chapter textbook. The modules are organized into themed units that correspond to chapters found in conventional textbooks. With this modular approach, instructors can arrange the topics in any order, and even skip entire modules or units if they choose.

• Our inclusion of case studies that span K-12 grade levels also allows you flexibility in designing your course. Each unit begins with four full-length case studies, one from each certification level: early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school. Instructors can choose one particular educational level (only early childhood), several (elementary and high school), all levels, or may choose to skip the cases altogether.

Our stand-alone modules and cases allow you to tailor content to your particular course and student audience.




APPLIED: Opportunities for practical application of theories and concepts In each module, our coverage of educational psychology theories and concepts includes examples that illustrate application and critical thinking about individual differences and instructional contexts.

In every module, Applications sections help students tie theory and research to educational practice. Coverage is focused on evidence-based teaching methods and principles that are linked to research.

Case studies – 33 in all – provide opportunities for students to apply theories and concepts. Our case studies are rich, detailed glimpses into classroom and school settings. Each unit begins with four case studies: early childhood, elementary school, middle school, and high school that are relevant to all modules in that unit.

At the end of each case study ASSESS questions prompt students to assess their existing knowledge and to identify assumptions, preconceptions, and personal beliefs prior to reading a particular module. Each module ends with REFLECT AND EVALUATE questions based on the case studies at the beginning of each unit. These questions encourage students to check their comprehension of important concepts, to apply what they have learned about the research presented in the modules, and to evaluate the situations and instructional decisions presented in the case. Our developmental approach of presenting cases at various certification levels enables students to meaningfully apply the concepts they are learning to the grade levels they intend to teach. Whether you use the cases studies out of class as homework or writing assignments or for in-class discussions, students will have the opportunity to practice applying what they’ve learned.




Extensive Coverage




Balance of classical and contemporary topics We present research on traditional topics, such as cognitive development, learning, information-processing, and motivation, as well as more contemporary educational topics such as the role of the brain in learning, social-emotional learning, differentiated instruction, response-to-intervention, and underserved populations.




Depth of coverage The scope of each module provides a deeper examination of core topics than the survey approach in traditional chapter textbooks. For example, while typical chapter textbooks combine behavioral and social cognitive learning theories into a single chapter, we treat each of these topics as separate modules to allow more meaningful discussion of the theory, research, and practice. We also offer more in-depth coverage of topics that may be only minimally covered in chapter textbooks such as constructivist teaching approaches, intelligence, grouping practices, and metacognition.




Integrated issues of diversity Our book treats diversity—characteristics such as ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, and disabilities—not as a separate topic but as a facet of most instructional situations.


A marginal icon (see at left) indicates where pertinent coverage of diversity appears in the modules. We have chosen to emphasize information as a diversity issue only if it is supported by sufficient research or theoretically relevant. Within the modules, we integrate diversity by covering research findings that

indicate important similarities or differences among individuals of various diversity groups on psychological constructs such as intelligence, motivation, or language; reveal differences among individuals of various groups in values, practices, or social interactions; suggest differential responses to treatments, interventions, or teaching methods for individuals of varying diversity groups; and highlight differential treatment of individuals from various diversity groups within the classroom.

These findings are relevant because they provide essential information to help teachers make informed decisions that affect the success and well-being of their students.

You will also find diversity in the case studies. We include students and teachers of diverse backgrounds in the case studies, and where appropriate, we present Reflect and Evaluate questions at the end of the modules that probe students to re-evaluate their personal beliefs or assumptions about diversity.




New In This Edition The third edition provides instructors and students with the same content as our previous edition in a more streamlined presentation. Our original motivation for writing a truly modular textbook was to ensure that our students actually read the pages that instructors assigned. Therefore, our intent has always been to provide students with an up-to-date treatment of theory and research on topics in a brief and easy-to-digest format. In our streamlined third edition, we have condensed 30 modules into 25 modules and have reduced the number of themed units from nine to eight. These changes include

efficiently combining modules on “Social Development” and “Emotional Development” into one module called Social-Emotional Development; writing an entirely new module on Brain Development with updated research to replace the previous module called “The Brain and Development”; writing an entirely new module on Information Processing with updated research; moving the topic of creativity with topics on critical thinking and problem solving to create a new module called Higher-Order Thinking, which replaces the old module called “Critical Thinking and Problem Solving;” creating a new module called Classroom Management, which covers many of the topics in the previous modules on “Creating a Productive Learning Environment” and “Understanding and Managing Student Behavior”; combining topics on Intelligence and Giftedness into one module incorporating topics from the module on “Performance Assessment” into the module on Assessing Student Learning; which is also a newly written module, and incorporating topics from the module on “Issues in Standardized Testing” into the module on Standardized Tests and Scores, and moving this module to Unit 8 on Assessment, eliminating the need for a separate Unit 9 covering standardized testing.




Our third edition also features newly written case studies for Units 4, 6, and 8. These case studies provide a fresh new glimpse into classrooms that reflect the changes to modules within these units that we describe above. As in the previous editions of our textbook, the case studies are written based on real- life classroom situations.

In addition to these primary changes, we have ensured that all of our modules contain the most up-to-date research. We have included new research citations and have expanded our coverage of diversity throughout the book.




Acknowledgments The publisher and authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following reviewers:

James A. Bernauer, Robert Morris University Agnes Cave, The Catholic University of America Robert Colesante, Siena College Patricia Corbett, Great Bay Community College Michael G. Curran Jr., Rider University Jeff W. Dennis, Southwestern Michigan College Maryann Dudzinski, Valparaiso University Stella Erbes, Pepperdine University Cynthia Erickson, University of Mobile Donna Farland-Smith, The Ohio State University Joseph D. Green, Pepperdine University Alishia Huntoon, Oregon Institute of Technology Miriam Lipsky, University of Miami Christine Purkiss, Angelo State University Martha Ravola, Alcorn State University Deborah A. Scigliano, Duquesne University Michael F. Shaughnessy, Eastern New Mexico University Pam Tabor, Miami Dade College Dawn N. Hicks Tafari, Winston-Salem State University Katie Tuohey, Ursuline College Kathy Vespia, Salve Regina University Lois J. Willoughby, Miami Dade College–Kendall

In the electronic edition of the book you have purchased, there are several icons that reference links (videos, journal articles) to additional content. Though the electronic edition links are not live, all content referenced may be accessed at . This URL is referenced at several points throughout your electronic edition.




Digital Resources

SAGE coursepacks for Instructors makes it easy to import our quality content into your school’s LMS (Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle). Don’t use an LMS platform? No problem, you can still access many of the online resources for your text via SAGE edge.

SAGE coursepacks offers:

Intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort· Pedagogically robust assessment tools including test banks and quizzing/activity options that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, and offer a more complete way to measure student engagement· Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, and curated and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life and appeal to different learning styles EXCLUSIVE, influential SAGE journal and reference content, built into course materials and assessment tools, that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch but you can customize to your exact needs Sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course in a way that is perfect for you Lecture notes that summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions Integrated links to the interactive eBook that make it easy for your students to maximize their study time with this “anywhere, anytime”




mobile-friendly version of the text. It also offers access to more digital tools and resources, including SAGE Premium Video All tables and figures from the textbook

SAGE edge for Students enhances learning in an easy-to-use environment that offers:

Mobile-friendly flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, and make it easy to maximize your study time, anywhere, anytime Mobile-friendly practice quizzes that allow you to assess how much you’ve learned and where you need to focus your attention A customized online action plan that includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials Learning objectives that reinforce the most important material Chapter-specific study questions that allow you to engage with the material other content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics. Video and multimedia resources that bring concepts to life, are tied to learning objectives, and make learning easier.




About the Authors

Cheryl Durwin received her PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1996. She is Professor of Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University. She has taught educational psychology for over 20 years in various formats such as graduate level and undergraduate courses ranging from mid-size sections of 40 students to small, writing-intensive sections. Cheryl regularly teaches courses in research design, testing, motivation, cognition and memory, and learning disabilities. Her research interests include the development, assessment, and remediation of reading skills, efficacy of reading interventions in disadvantaged populations, and college-level teaching and learning.




Marla Reese-Weber received her PhD at The Ohio State University in 1998. She is Professor of Psychology and serves as the associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University. She has taught educational psychology for over 17 years in sections as small as 25 students and sections as large as 150 students. In addition, her course on educational psychology has included a focus on underserviced populations, particularly in urban areas. Marla also teaches adolescent development at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as a course on developmental research methods. Her research interests include sibling and dating violence as well as romantic relationship development during emerging adulthood. Though both of us have had varied experiences in teaching educational psychology, we came together because of a singular need. We wanted a textbook that was flexible enough to meet our very different circumstances. Cheryl has taught small, writing-intensive classes with a focus on case studies to help students apply what they are learning, while Marla has taught larger classes of 50 or more students with an emphasis on research design and the science behind educational




psychology. In each of our courses, we select varied topics to emphasize and order the topics very differently, and we have unique teaching styles. We wanted a textbook that would fit each of our needs. EdPsych Modules is the first textbook purposefully and intentionally written from a module approach. Our modules are succinct, stand-alone topics that are organized into themed units representing every subject matter found in a traditional chapter textbook. Because these are stand- alone, our modules can be combined or organized in any order, regardless of the order we decided to use in the table of contents. Instructors can even skip modules or entire units if they choose. For those who teach with case studies, we provide four detailed classroom situations at the beginning of every unit, one for each educational level: early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school. Again, instructors can choose one particular educational level, several, all levels, or may choose to skip the cases altogether. We believe that if our textbook is flexible enough to meet our very diverse needs, it can meet the needs of any instructor, regardless of the type of teacher education program, class size, or course emphasis.




Introduction Using Science To Inform Classroom Practices Images Inc.

Case Study Middle School: Achievement Gap, 2

Module 1: Using Science to Inform Classroom Practices Outline and Learning Goals, 4 Educational Psychology: A Resource for Teachers, 5 Educational Psychology: The Science, 6 Educational Psychology: Classroom Practices, 11 Summary, 18 Key Concepts, 18 Case Study: Reflect and Evaluate, 18





Middle School: Achievement Gap


As you read the case, make notes:

1. WHO are the central characters in the case? Describe them. 2. WHAT is taking place? 3. WHERE is the case taking place? Is the environment a factor? 4. WHEN is the case taking place? Is the timing a factor?

© Köhserli

Jarrod and Tamara Patterson met during college and are both teachers in the Chicago area. They live in the suburbs, where Jarrod teaches third grade. Tamara completed her student teaching at an inner-city school. She wanted to continue in a similar school district, so she takes the train into the city each day to teach history in a public middle school.

Over the years, Jarrod and Tamara have had a number of arguments about education. Some of their disagreements stem from the developmental differences in their students—as Jarrod works with younger students—but their liveliest disagreements involve the differences between suburban and urban classrooms. Ninety percent of Tamara’s students are African American and live in households where the median annual income is around $33,000. In contrast, 79% of Jarrod’s students are White, 9% are Latino, 8% are Hispanic, and only 3% are African American. The median annual income for households in Jarrod’s school district is $83,000.

As they begin their drive into the city to run errands on Saturday morning, Tamara reminds Jarrod that she needs to stop by her classroom to pick up




some papers. She forgot them yesterday and needs to finish grading them before Monday morning. Jarrod doesn’t respond—he has taken the opportunity to read the newspaper while Tamara drives.

“Listen to this,” he begins. “A new study examined the ‘achievement gap’— you know, the idea that African Americans perform more poorly compared to Whites. Says here that some researchers found that the differences in achievement levels between African Americans and Whites no longer exist.”

Tamara responds skeptically, “How did they determine that?”

“Well, it says that the researchers found no differences in the GPAs of students from several ethnic backgrounds, including African American and White students,” replies Jarrod.

Tamara pushes the issue. “Who were the students? How did they get information about GPA? Did they use the official records?”

Jarrod replies, “It doesn’t give that many details.”

As they pull into the school parking lot, Tamara announces, “The newspaper shouldn’t print those statements without supplying more details.” She grabs the newspaper out of Jarrod’s hands and says, “Come on. While we are inside getting my papers, we can probably find more information about the study on the web.”

“Do we have to do this today?” moans Jarrod, wishing he had kept his mouth shut.

“Yes,” replies Tamara.

As they enter Tamara’s classroom, Jarrod says, “I still can’t get over how old everything seems in the building. When are they going to update the decor, not to mention your textbooks?”

Tamara ignores his comment. She turns on the only computer in the room and retrieves her papers while she waits for the computer to get up and running. Then she launches her Internet browser and begins to alphabetize her papers, because she knows it will take several minutes before the computer is ready.

Jarrod waits impatiently. “How long is this going to take?”

“Well, if we had new computers with wireless Internet connections like at




your school, we’d be out of here by now. But I don’t have those perks, so just give me a couple of minutes.”

Tamara uses the researchers’ names from the newspaper article to find the original study online. “Good, it was published early this year,” she says, and sends the print job to the printer in the main office. “Come on. I’ll grab the printout. I can read while you drive us.”

As they walk to the office, Tamara can’t help herself. “I suppose you have your own printer in your classroom and don’t have to walk to the main office all the time.”

“As a matter of fact, I do,” replies Jarrod. “You know you could get a job in my school district anytime. Remember, you chose to work here. Don’t give me a hard time because I chose not to.”

As they drive to their next stop, Tamara begins to read and launches into a tirade: “Well, they used college students, not K-12 students. Oh, can you believe this? They didn’t even use official records to find GPAs. They simply asked students to provide their GPA on a survey.”

“Why do you care so much? It’s just one newspaper article in the back of the paper,” replies Jarrod.

Tamara continues her tirade. “Because parents and most other teachers won’t take the time to read the actual study and see that the newspaper article is misleading. People won’t realize that the achievement gap is still present in K-12 classrooms and will expect all teachers to have students with similar achievement levels. That’s unrealistic. If journalists were actually trying to inform the public—instead of spewing out stories on movie stars in rehab— they would explain why the achievement gap exists. It’s not even about ethnicity; it’s about socioeconomic status.”




© Steve Debenport

“Maybe you should write a letter to the editor,” suggests Jarrod.

“Maybe I will,” Tamara says.


1. How might the different schools in which Tamara and Jarrod work influence the importance each places on understanding achievement differences?

2. Should teachers be concerned with what type of students participate in research studies like the one reported in the newspaper article? Why or why not?

3. How would you respond to a parent whose child is not achieving as well as others but who believes that all students should perform equally well?




Module 1 Using Science to Inform Classroom Practices

© lai9







Educational Psychology: A Resource for Teachers 1 Explain why educational psychology is an important resource for teachers.

People who work outside educational settings may assume that good teaching practices are simply common sense. Yet common-sense approaches to classroom management and instruction often are ineffective or even counterproductive. Assume, for example, that an elementary student continues to get out of his seat during a lesson. A common-sense approach would be to politely ask the student to sit down. However, if the student is misbehaving to attract attention from the teacher and classmates, this approach might simply encourage the behavior.

Master the content.

Research suggests that a more effective approach would be to ignore the unwanted behavior, depending on the individual characteristics of the student. Hence, scientific evidence helps teachers determine the best practices for effective teaching. As a teacher, you will encounter situations for which, despite all your training, you are unprepared. When that happens, research can help you formulate an informed response.

When teachers need help dealing with issues of diversity, motivation, achievement differences, behavioral problems, and other concerns, they turn to the field of educational psychology. Educational psychology links the science of psychology to educational practice and provides teachers with evidence-based knowledge to support their day-to-day decision making in the classroom. Teachers who implement research-based practices have students with more academic engagement and fewer disruptive behaviors (Sanetti, Collier-Meek, Long, Kim, & Kratochwill, 2014). In short, educational psychology can help teachers become better teachers. We are writing this text to provide theories and empirical evidence you can use to develop a repertoire of skills and knowledge on your path to becoming an effective teacher.




Scientific Approaches Versus Common Sense. Research informs teachers about how best to approach situations in the classroom, such as children playing with one another rather than completing their work, as shown here. The common-sense approach does not always lead to best practices.

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To make the most of educational psychology, teachers need both a basic understanding of scientific principles (the science) and an awareness of how these principles can apply to real situations (classroom practices). In this text, you will be considering the same major challenges that scholars face in this field:

The science: formulating theories and conducting research studies. Classroom practices: developing applications of current theories and research to enhance teaching and learning.




Video Case 1.1 ▴ New Teacher Advice

© SAGE Publications




Educational Psychology: The Science 2 Describe three elements of research studies that help determine which studies are worthy of consideration.

The science of educational psychology involves formulating theories—sets of ideas that are used to explain a phenomenon and make predictions about behavior—and then conducting research to determine how well those theories explain the phenomenon. The relationship between theory and research is reciprocal. Research findings may support a theory, but researchers also may alter theories or develop new ones based on accumulated evidence. This process is ongoing—scientists today are building upon (or tearing down) the work of twentieth-century scientists.

For today’s teachers, the amount and variety of research material available can be intimidating. The first step in evaluating research is to find appropriate resources (see Guidelines 1.1: Finding Reputable Research). After you have located good research articles, you need to determine which studies are worthy of consideration. To evaluate the quality of research, you need to understand three elements of it:

1. Design: What was the purpose of the study (to describe, to show cause and effect)?

2. Sample: Who was being studied (elementary-aged children, college students)?

3. Measures: How were constructs of interest measured (surveys, observations)?

Guidelines 1.1 Finding Reputable Research







Research Designs Researchers must choose a method for investigating variables of interest. Variables are events, characteristics, or behaviors that can be measured, such as age, family divorce, medication, diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), math scores, or aggression. To focus on a specific question about certain variables, researchers choose a particular research design—a method for investigating how and whether the variables selected are related. Table 1.1 describes four designs that are commonly used in educational research.

Video: Research Design

Descriptive designs provide basic information about variables in a population without making connections between behaviors, events, or conditions. For example, a descriptive research study might determine what percentage of school-age children are diagnosed with ADHD.

Two descriptive designs can provide in-depth perspectives:

Case study research examines a single individual and creates a rich picture of that individual’s psychological functioning. Researchers might observe a child diagnosed with autism both at home and at school, interview teachers and parents, and examine test scores, school records, and other sources of information. Ethnographic study research closely examines a particular group through direct participation within the group. For example, a researcher might attend a school of Latino students, taking extensive field notes to capture the unique educational values and social challenges of this ethnic group.




To move beyond simply describing behaviors, researchers use correlational designs, which answer questions about the connections between two variables. For example, in exploring the connection between study time and grades, the researcher might ask whether students who spend more time studying get better grades. These connections are expressed in a statistical computation called a correlation coefficient, a number between –1.0 and +1.0 that indicates the type and strength of the relationship between two variables.

The sign (positive or negative) indicates the type of relationship between the two variables. A positive correlation (+) between study time and grades means that as study time increases, grades also increase. A negative correlation (–) between school absences and grades means that as absences increase, grades decrease. The closer a correlation coefficient is to +1 or –1, the stronger the relationship between the two variables. For example, a correlation coefficient of –.56 indicates a stronger connection than a correlation coefficient of +.43 because the absolute value of the number is larger.

Although correlation studies measure the relationships between different variables, they cannot determine cause and effect. Although we may find that study time and grades are positively correlated, increased study time may or




may not cause better grades. Instead, this positive correlation may suggest several possibilities: (a) more study time causes better grades, (b) better grades cause a person to enjoy academics and therefore to study more, or (c) some other variable, such as parental involvement, accounts for the high levels of study time and grades.

When researchers want to establish whether a cause–effect relationship exists, they turn to experimental and quasi-experimental designs. Experimental designs are used to establish a cause–effect relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable. An independent variable is the variable of interest that is presumed to have an effect on the dependent variable, which is the outcome of the study. Researchers conduct experimental studies in two steps:

1. Randomly assign participants to one of two groups: an experimental group and a control group.

2. Manipulate the independent variable (a treatment or intervention) with the experimental group but not the control group.

Suppose researchers want to determine whether using computers in elementary classrooms (independent variable) affects the academic achievement of students (dependent variable). They might give an academic achievement test to students and then randomly assign some to a computer classroom (experimental group) and others to a no-computer classroom (control group). The experimental group would use computers in the classroom over a specified period of time, while the control group would not. At the end of the study, researchers would give the same academic achievement test to each student. If the experimental group showed greater improvement over time than the control group, researchers could make a claim about a cause–effect relationship: that the independent variable (the use of computers in the classroom) affected the dependent variable (academic achievement).

Video: Quasi-experiemental designs

In situations in which researchers cannot randomly assign individuals to groups or manipulate an independent variable, they use quasi-experimental




designs to infer a cause–effect relationship. Obviously, researchers cannot randomly assign children to divorced and nondivorced families, abusive and nonabusive homes, male and female genders, or high and low socioeconomic groups. In other cases, researchers’ actions may be limited by school district rules or by time or expense, making the manipulation of experimental and control groups impossible. As a result, quasi-experimental designs cannot establish that an independent variable directly affects a dependent variable, and therefore they leave open the possibility that the outcome of the study may be due to other variables the researcher could not control. Say, for example, that researchers study an existing group of students in a computer classroom and compare their achievement to that of students enrolled in a no- computer classroom. Changes in the academic achievement of students in the computer classroom (dependent variable) may not depend solely on the presence of computers (independent variable) but may also be affected by variables beyond the researchers’ control: the computer classroom having more high-level readers, fewer behaviorally challenging children, or a teacher with more teaching experience than the teacher in the no-computer classroom. Researchers employ safeguards to account for and control all other possible variables that might affect the experimental and control groups, but their presence and the lack of random group assignment are limiting factors.

Despite these shortcomings, quasi-experimental research does allow researchers to examine questions involving differences between groups or differences over time. Two examples are cross-sectional studies and longitudinal designs, described here:

1. Cross-sectional studies examine two or more groups to compare behaviors. Researchers might examine whether middle school students have more or fewer hours of homework than high school students.

2. Longitudinal designs examine the same group of people repeatedly over time to provide information about how behaviors change or how earlier events can be connected to later events. A longitudinal study might follow children over time to determine whether children whose parents divorce in elementary school have more academic difficulties in adolescence than children whose parents did not divorce.

To use science effectively in decision making, teachers need to be informed




consumers of research. When you encounter scientific evidence presented in the media, in journals, or at workshops, you should be aware of the various inferences that can be made with each research design, as shown in Figure 1.1. Experimental studies are the only type that can answer questions about cause-effect relationships. However, correlational and quasi-experimental designs are more common in educational research because they are more practical than experimental designs for investigating many hypotheses regarding teaching and learning. They also provide more information than descriptive designs. Nevertheless, you must be cautious when interpreting correlational and quasi-experimental designs. You should always question whether other variables not identified in the studies might account for the findings.




Samples Once the research design is determined, researchers must identify the population of interest and select a sample. Suppose researchers want to study how students of different ages respond to the stress of transferring to a new school. Because the researchers cannot observe or survey all transferring students—the population of interest—they rely on a sample, a smaller set of individuals from the population of interest. The sample needs to be representative, meaning that it has gender, ethnicity, and age characteristics similar to the population of interest. The best method for ensuring a representative sample is to use a random sample, meaning every person in the population of interest has an equal chance of being included. Many computer programs can take a large list of individuals (for example, all students registered in a school district) and create a random subset of individuals to be included in a study.

Figure 1.1 A Continuum of Research Designs. Design dictates what inferences we can make from educational research studies.




Research Measures. Observations allow researchers to view the behaviors of teachers and students during instruction, such as whether boys or girls are called on more frequently by teachers.

© Darrin Henry

Even when a random sample of individuals within the population is selected, not all the people selected will agree to participate in the research study. (How many website surveys have you declined?) This is called volunteer bias, the tendency of those who choose to participate in research studies to differ in some way from those who do not participate. Typically, individuals who have strong feelings or opinions, or who are invested in the outcome of a particular research study, are more likely to participate than are those who do not have a vested interest. For example, a college student might be more willing to participate in surveys and interviews regarding opinions on the effectiveness of the university’s financial aid office and less likely to participate in research on the effectiveness of the university president.




Measures Once researchers have chosen a research design and representative sample, they must decide on a method for taking measurements, which will provide a framework for gathering information. If researchers are investigating the amount of time students spend during school hours completing assignments, they must decide whether to ask students verbally, have them complete a paper-and-pencil survey, or observe them within the school setting. Some measures commonly used in educational research are these:

Observations, or watching or viewing the behavior of individuals, might be used to examine how many times a teacher calls on a girl versus a boy in relation to the number of students from each gender who raise their hands. Interviews, or questions presented to participants, can be highly structured lists of simple questions (How many hours do you spend on homework each night?) or can include open-ended questions (How do you study for a test?). Even though open-ended questions allow more information to be gathered, they often result in less consistency across participants. Participants might talk about the number of hours spent studying, the use of a study guide, or strategies they use for reading, note taking, memorizing, and testing themselves. Tests and surveys typically are paper-and-pencil measures that include a number of questions. Test and survey research can be done very easily with large groups of individuals in a relatively short amount of time. One requirement for participation in survey research is the ability to read and write. This might exclude younger children and individuals with language barriers.

When you examine research findings, consider the measurement strategy the researchers chose. Each measurement approach has limitations. In interviews, the researcher must speak the same language as the participant. On a test or survey, the participant must be able to read and write in the same language. Observation research is less valid for measurements of internal states of mind such as self-confidence or sadness.




Consider the research scenarios below and see if you can classify them according to research design.

1. There are two sections of a class. Both sections are taught by the same instructor, cover the same content, and have the same number of students. In one class the teacher uses a $150 textbook, and in the other class the teacher uses no textbook. The final exam scores are compared to determine which practice is a better option.

2. An educational psychologist examines how students’ levels of motivation toward studying compare with their IQ scores.

3. In an effort to decrease obesity and increase movement among students, a superintendent has all the gym teachers in a district record the average number of hours in a week spent doing cardio work in gym class.

4. A researcher goes to an urban school and a rural school to observe differences. After much study, the researcher writes a report comparing and contrasting the two schools.




Educational Psychology: Classroom Practices 3 Define best practices and explain why it is important for teachers to base them on scientific evidence.

4 Describe four diversity characteristics that can define an individual’s group membership, and explain why teachers need to understand differences between groups.

In addition to understanding educational research, teachers must be able to translate practical findings of specific research studies into school settings— diverse school settings. To do this, every teacher needs a systematic process for developing his or her personal educational philosophies.

Video Case 1.2 ▴ Teaching Philosophy

© SAGE Publications




Best Practices Effective teachers develop best practices for instruction, classroom management, and assessment. Best practices are evidence-based strategies determined by science to help inform decisions. They are not a list of specific strategies that one should and should not use. For example, many states are relying on a new set of academic standards, Common Core. However, the Common Core standards do not inform teachers how to teach and what material to teach. Instead, educators must develop a set of skills needed to determine best practices for having students reach these standards. Education programs training our next generation of teachers use the standards set forth by the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) to evaluate skills and competencies of preservice teachers. Table 1.2 shows the standards set forth by InTASC.

Best Practices. Teachers need to examine current resources and up-to-date scientific evidence in making decisions about instructional methods and techniques, rather than relying on techniques used decades ago.

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Note that best practices today may not be the same best practices in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Best practices are fluid, changing with new research findings. We don’t use the same teaching strategies, or best practices, from 50 years ago. It’s likely we won’t be using the best practices of today 50 years from now. The fluid nature of best practices means that teachers must continue to seek out evidence-based information, or current research, to assist




them in making sound decisions regarding classroom management, instruction, and assessment.




Addressing Diversity Determining effective classroom practices is made more complex by the increasingly diverse nature of the student body in U.S. schools. Aspects of diversity will shape your teaching and the choices you make about the methods, techniques, and strategies you employ in the classroom. Because diversity can be found in all educational interactions, we discuss issues of diversity within specific educational contexts. An icon (like the one in the margin here) will point to pertinent coverage of diversity within a particular topic. To provide a basic understanding of diversity, some of the most important guidelines and concepts related to diversity and effective classroom practices are summarized here.


Effective teachers are aware of the diversity they are likely to encounter in the classroom. Individuals and environments can exhibit a wealth of diverse characteristics. To begin to understand individual and group differences, researchers often ask participants of studies to report their ethnicity or race, sex or gender, socioeconomic status, and disabilities. By grouping people based on these characteristics, researchers can divide any population into subsets for analysis. For example, in the 2010 U.S. Census, respondents were asked to report their race by choosing among the following categories:

White Black, African American, or Negro American Indian or Alaska Native Asian (with specific check box responses for Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, or Other Pacific Islander) Some other race (Individuals of “multiracial, mixed, interracial, or a Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish group” could respond in a write-in space under this category. Also, people of two or more races could fill in multiple race response check boxes and provide additional responses.)




Video Case 1.3 ▴ Addressing Diversity

© SAGE Publications




Source: Council of Chief State School Officers. (2011, April). Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from

A group may be considered a minority group if it has less power than the majority group, even if the group is not smaller in number. For example, more women than men live in the United States, but women are considered a minority group due to their relative lack of power in business (lower paying jobs), politics (fewer political positions), and religion (in some religions, women still are not allowed to hold leadership positions). Let’s examine group membership further:




The terms ethnicity and race are often used interchangeably to express cultural differences, but they actually have different meanings (Spencer, 2014). Although each term has a definition that is so complex entire courses are taught to differentiate the two, our purpose here is to provide a basic distinction. Ethnic group includes people who share a similar culture—an environment with a unique history, traditions, rules, attitudes, and perhaps a specific language. In contrast, racial group categorizes people who share common biological traits (such as hair texture and skin color). The biological traits that distinguish races are socially defined. In other words, there is nothing particularly important about hair texture or skin color. Our society could have chosen, or defined as important, other biological traits (eye color, height, and so on). Certain traits were most likely chosen to establish social standing among groups (Moya & Markus, 2010). Most often, a person’s ethnicity and racial group overlap. However, because ethnicity is based on environment and race is based on biology, they can diverge. For example, how would researchers categorize the race and ethnicity of an Asian-born child who is adopted and raised by a middle-class White family living in the rural Midwestern United States? Classrooms today are rich with such complexity. Like ethnicity and race, the terms sex and gender are often used interchangeably but differ technically. Sex refers to the biological status of male (penis) or female (vagina), whereas gender is the social definition, including behaviors learned in the environment about being either male (masculine) or female (feminine). Sexual orientation is another concept related to sex and gender that has been used to denote diversity. The term sexual orientation denotes homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. Many people believe that socioeconomic status (SES) is based solely on income, with families who have higher incomes being considered high-SES and families with low incomes considered low-SES. A more accurate definition of SES relies on the educational level and occupation of family members rather than on their level of income. Although in most circumstances educational attainment and occupation are highly related to income (more education and/or more prestigious occupations lead to higher incomes), in many circumstances less-educated individuals have higher incomes than those who are highly educated.




The typical example is the college professor who holds a doctoral degree but whose income is modest. Disability refers to being limited in one’s ability to perform some behavior, task, or skill. The term can refer to physical disabilities (hearing impairment, cerebral palsy), cognitive disabilities (intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, language delays), or behavioral or emotional disabilities (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety). We consider disability to be a diversity characteristic because a student’s disability will result in different learning needs and perhaps different levels of achievement in comparison with students who have no disabilities.

Culturally responsive pedagogy: See Module 18


Effective teachers attempt to understand the possible causes of differences among groups. Teachers who understand why differences exist can learn to be sensitive to the individual needs of students from various backgrounds. Typically, environmental differences, not biological or genetic differences, are the root of group differences. Consider SES as an example. Students from high-SES homes tend to score higher on achievement tests, receive higher grades, and stay in school longer than students in lower SES homes (Dawson- McClure et al., 2015). These outcomes can be traced to several environmental differences (Goodman & Burton, 2012; National Center for Education Statistics, 2015):

Poorer nutrition and more exposure to pollution in lower SES homes. Less exposure to school readiness materials such as books and computers in lower SES homes due to lack of financial resources or lack of knowledge about the importance of reading to children at a young age. Less parental involvement in lower SES homes, which may be due to work schedules or less education. Less well-qualified teachers and higher turnover rates among teachers in lower SES schools and preschools.

One might think these factors are most influential in early childhood, but the SES achievement gap for math actually widens around age 12, typically




during the transition to middle school (Caro, McDonald, & Willms, 2009).

Achievement and SES. Achievement differences stemming from socioeconomic status may be due to differences in access to resources such as books and computers.

© Christopher Futcher

Social and political events have highlighted the connection between SES and academic achievement in underserved areas such as urban and rural communities. For example, in 2003 the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute began a two-year master’s program for Urban Teacher Education. Similarly, the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center has developed a doctoral program in Urban Education. Both programs focus on training individuals to work in urban educational systems and conducting research to determine the best classroom practices in these areas.

In a similar fashion, many universities have centers focused on rural education within their states. Washington State University has a Rural Education Center that focuses on exchanging information among rural schools and providing a voice in policy development. Likewise, Kansas State




University established the Center for Rural Education and Small Schools, which focuses on improving education in those areas. Finally, the National Research Center on Rural Education Support (NRCRES) was established in 2004 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The research center examines issues related to retaining qualified teachers, increasing opportunities for advanced courses, and decreasing student dropout rates in rural schools. Knowledge of current research can help inform teachers’ best practices. For example, teachers may take extra time with students who lack readiness skills, allow students to borrow books from the classroom for use at home, or find creative ways to involve parents in their children’s education, particularly during the transition to middle school.

Effective teachers address and embrace diversity. Their teaching is not guided by assumptions about individuals from diverse groups. Prejudice feelings are rigid and irrational generalizations about a group or category of people. Prejudice feelings appear to emerge very early in life and peak at about 5 to 7 years of age, with more than half of 6-year-old White children and 85% of 5-year-old White children showing signs of pro-White, anti- Black biases (Doyle & Aboud, 1995; Katz, 2003; Raabe & Beelmann, 2011). Almost every individual has some prejudice feelings toward one or more groups, even though they may not be aware of those feelings. Teachers themselves may believe that lower achieving students need to focus on basic skills. They may assume that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are lower achievers, that girls are not as capable in math as boys, that Asian American students are naturally smarter than members of other ethnic groups, and that gifted students are socially immature. Prejudice feelings tend to become more intense over time due to confirmation bias and belief perseverance. Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to seek evidence that confirms what they already believe to be true, rather than searching for facts that might refute their beliefs (Mercier, 2011; Nickerson, 1998). Belief perseverance is the tendency to continue or persevere our beliefs even when presented with contradictory evidence (Garcia-Mila & Anderson, 2008; Savion, 2009). For example, if a woman believes that green- eyed people are exceptionally intelligent, she will notice or pay attention to all instances in which a green-eyed person says something intelligent (confirmation bias). Likewise, she will ignore or assume it was just a fluke when a green-eyed person says something silly or unintelligent (belief perseverance).




Prejudice feelings can affect the way a teacher makes decisions about instruction, grouping, motivation, and assessment. Treating individuals differently based on prejudice feelings or biased beliefs about a particular group is discrimination. A recent study found that 6- to 7-year-old White children discriminated against Black children when distributing coins, even in the presence of an adult. Slightly older White children, 9 to 10 years of age, also discriminated against Black children in the same task, but only when the adult was out of the room (Monteiro, de Franca, & Rodrigues, 2009). Children are not the only ones who might discriminate.

Teachers and educators must identify their own feelings of prejudice and educate themselves on the scientific evidence regarding diversity issues. However, even scientific evidence that points to group differences should be interpreted with caution due to individual differences within each group. For example, Figure 1.2 shows that average math scores are higher for boys than girls, but the amount of overlap in scores is great.

Consider your own experiences and group membership. Have you ever treated someone differently because of the person’s race, socioeconomic status, gender, or disability? If you have experienced prejudice feelings —or been on the receiving end of prejudice feelings—how and why have those beliefs persevered?




Using a Case Study Approach Did you read the opening case study on page 2? You may have skipped it, thinking, Why do I need to read this? How will reading this before I read the content help me? Case studies allow preservice teachers to develop decision- making skills by considering how to apply scientific evidence to specific classroom practices. In each unit, there are four cases: (1) early childhood, (2) elementary school, (3) middle school, and (4) high school. Your instructor may ask you to read one or more of the case studies, depending on which certification level you are pursuing. Reading one or more case studies before reading a module will provide you with a realistic classroom situation to consider as you learn about the theories, research, and their application as presented in the module. To get the most out of the case study approach, pay close attention to the different categories of questions we have provided. These prompts will help you uncover important elements, make connections between science and practice, and build problem-solving skills.

Figure 1.2 More Similarities than Differences. Comparing boys’ and girls’ math performance historically has found mean differences, but the overlap of scores between these two groups is great, emphasizing the enormous variability within groups.

Prepare The Prepare questions that precede each case study will help you identify the relevant pieces of information within the case study:

Who? Pay attention to characteristics of teachers, students, and parents and the relationships among them. These characteristics may include gender, ethnicity, disabilities, or the SES of students, parents, the teacher, or the school district.




What? Attempt to identify the main problem described in the case study. Is it a behavioral problem, a learning problem, an instructional problem, or a classroom management problem? Each case may address more than one problem. Where? Consider where the events take place. Is it a traditional classroom, a chemistry lab, an art room, the gym, the hallway, or the principal’s office? Try to envision that context and identify any characteristics that might contribute to the problem or to its solution. When? Identify time-relevant information. Does the story unfold in the morning or the late afternoon; at the beginning, middle, or end of the school year; before or after a holiday? Start thinking about how time might be related to the main problem.

Assess At the end of each case study, you will find three or four Assess questions to help you evaluate your initial understanding and interpretation of the case. Because you will not yet have read the modules in the unit, you will not have the science and application to aid your thinking. Here, we will be asking you to use prior knowledge to make predictions or draw preliminary conclusions. These questions may focus on asking the following:

How you might respond to the situation. What characteristics of the individuals involved contributed to the situation. Why solutions described did not work well.

Reflect and Evaluate At the end of each module, a series of Reflect and Evaluate questions will ask you to use the information presented in the module to formulate a more educated, scientific-based response to each case study:

How? Rather than relying on your own opinions and experience, use the science and application discussed in the module to address the situation described in the case. What? Identify examples of key concepts in the modules.




Why? Move beyond the facts of the case and focus on the characteristics and motivations of individuals. What aspects of the case study were most important, or why did one solution succeed when another failed? What if . . . ? Consider how the problem and solution presented in the case study would change if some aspect of the case were changed, such as the gender or ethnicity of students or teachers in the case study.

The Reflect and Evaluate questions will help you gauge your level of comprehension of important concepts. They will also encourage you to apply what you have learned in realistic contexts, letting you practice the same type of informed decision making experienced teachers do.




Summary 1 Explain why educational psychology is an important resource for teachers. Educational psychology links the science of psychology to educational practice and provides teachers with evidence-based knowledge to support their day-to-day decision making in the classroom. Teachers’ choices of techniques and strategies should rely not on common-sense approaches but on scientific research.

2 Describe three elements of research studies that help determine which studies are worthy of consideration. First, the sample selection process for conducting research studies should attempt to use randomized samples and minimize volunteer bias. Second, measures should be selected based on how well the measure answers the research question. Third, the findings of research studies should be interpreted accurately given the limitations of the research design used, such as whether cause and effect can be established.

3 Define best practices and explain why it is important for teachers to base them on scientific evidence. Best practices are evidence-based strategies determined by science to help inform decisions. Because best practices of appropriate teaching methods have changed throughout history and will continue to change in the future, teachers should become lifelong learners by using current scientific information to make decisions about best practices.

4 Describe four diversity characteristics that can define an individual’s group membership, and explain why teachers need to understand differences between groups. (1) Ethnic groups share a common culture or environment, while race denotes a group of people who share common biological traits. (2) An individual’s sex refers to his or her biology, whereas gender refers to the social definitions of masculine and feminine. (3) Socioeconomic status (SES) is defined by the educational level and occupational status of family members. (4) Disabilities also can be used as a characteristic of diversity, because individuals differ in physical, cognitive, and emotional capabilities. Teachers need to understand that group differences typically result from environmental differences and to be aware of their own prejudice feelings, which may easily be reinforced by attending to




information that confirms their beliefs and by ignoring information that contradicts their beliefs or prejudice feelings.




Key Concepts belief perseverance, 16 best practices, 11 confirmation bias, 16 correlational designs, 7 descriptive designs, 7 disability, 14 discrimination, 16 educational psychology, 5 ethnic group, 13 experimental designs, 8 gender, 14 interviews, 10 minority group, 13 observations, 10 prejudice feelings, 15 quasi-experimental designs, 8 racial group, 13 random sample, 9 research design, 7 sample, 9 sex, 14 sexual orientation, 14 socioeconomic status (SES), 14 tests and surveys, 10 theories, 6 variables, 7 volunteer bias, 10




Case Study: Reflect and Evaluate




Middle School: Achievement Gap These questions refer to the case study on page 2.

1. Why are the resources available in school districts important for understanding differences among teachers and students?

2. Why is knowledge that the sample was college students important for interpreting the results of the study?

3. Why is the survey measure used in the study problematic? What might be an alternative measure?

4. What type of research design was used in the study? What type of information can be interpreted from this type of research design?

5. Based on the information presented in the module about prejudice feelings, why would some people have a difficult time believing that African American students and White students can achieve at equal levels?

6. If the study had been done with K-12 students in various school districts assessing their GPA from official records over several years, how would this alter the way the results might be interpreted?







Unit One Personal Development

Jordan Siemens / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Case Studies Early Childhood: Cry Baby, 22 Elementary School: Team, 24 Middle School: Basketball Star, 26 High School: Steal, Cheat, and Fight, 28

Module 2: Contexts of Development Outline and Learning Goals, 30 Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory, 30 Family Context, 32 Peer Context, 36 Broader Contexts, 40 Summary, 44 Key Concepts, 44




Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate, 44 Module 3: Social-Emotional Development

Outline and Learning Goals, 46 Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory, 46 Aspects of Identity, 51 Understanding the Self, 55 Social Competence, 58 Applications: Fostering Social Competence, 61 Summary, 63 Key Concepts, 63 Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate, 64

Module 4: Moral Development Outline and Learning Goals, 66 Cognitive-Developmental Moral Reasoning, 66 Prosocial Behavior, 70 Aggressive Behavior, 73 Applications: Advancing Moral Development, 76 Summary, 80 Key Concepts, 80 Case Studies: Reflect and Evaluate, 80


Early Childhood: Cry Baby


As you read the case, make notes:

1. WHO are the central characters in the case? Describe them. 2. WHAT is taking place? 3. WHERE is the case taking place? Is the environment a factor? 4. WHEN is the case taking place? Is the timing a factor?

Edward Abbott and Linda Harsted are teachers at a local child care facility in the 4-year-old preschool room. The 20 students are from diverse backgrounds with a range of levels of socioeconomic status. At this preschool, the children are taught letter recognition, colors, fine and large motor skills, and many other readiness skills. The teachers also spend a large portion of the day




encouraging social behaviors such as sharing, helping, expressing assertiveness without aggression, and behaving respectfully toward others. Each year the teachers prepare kindergarten readiness reports to share with parents during a brief individual conference. To prepare for parent–teacher conferences, Ms. Harsted spent last week observing the children during centers to assess their educational skills while Mr. Abbott supervised the children. This week, Mr. Abbott will observe the children to assess their social behaviors while Ms. Harsted supervises. Centers include a number of activities, including playing house, having a snack, coloring, and playing with blocks and puzzles. Children in groups of four spend 15 minutes on each activity.

Mr. Abbott begins during snack time, when the children are having cheese crackers and juice. He quickly notices that Joe is helping Allison clean up her spilled juice that has soaked her crackers. Joe offers to share his crackers with Allison. Mr. Abbott thinks about how typical this behavior is of Joe. He is a very considerate child, always willing to help others. Mr. Abbott then turns his attention to Annie and Zada, who are arguing.

Annie says, “Zada, you aren’t my best friend anymore!”

Zada replies, “Well, you didn’t share your crayons with me before, so I don’t have to share my crackers with you. You got your crackers! I don’t have to give you some of mine.”

Mr. Abbott has already commented in his notes for Annie and Zada that both girls tend to be natural leaders, which can result in problems, as both want to be “boss.”

Ms. Harsted intervenes and asks Zada, “How did you feel earlier when Annie wouldn’t share her crayons?”

Zada replies, “She was mean, so I was sad.”

“Well, I bet that Annie is sad now because you won’t share with her,” states Ms. Harsted.

“Okay, she can have this one cracker, but only if I get to be the mommy when we play house,” replies Zada.

Annie quickly responds, “Okay.”

Mr. Abbott and Ms. Harsted exchange looks, because both know that Annie’s




home life is much different from Zada’s. Zada’s parents are married and middle class and spend much of their extra time with Zada and her brother. Both children were adopted when their parents were in their 40s. Yesterday, Zada told everyone about a recent family trip to a museum. Annie’s parents are divorced. Her father lives halfway across the country with his new wife and Annie’s new baby sister. Annie’s mother works first shift at the local hospital as a nurse’s aide and spends several evenings a week socializing with friends.

Mr. Abbott moves over to the block area. He notices that Tyler and Tanner are building a tall tower. Erica begins to place more blocks on the tower, but Tyler shouts, “That one doesn’t go there!” The loud shout startles Erica, who bumps the tower, and all the blocks come tumbling down.

Tanner yells, “You did that on purpose. We told you that girls aren’t supposed to play with blocks.”

“Yeah,” adds Tyler, “you ruined everything!”

Erica begins to cry. Tyler adds, “See, you are just a little cry baby. Cry baby. Cry baby . . . .”

“Boys, I want you to stop talking to Erica that way,” interjects Mr. Abbott. “I saw the whole thing, and Erica didn’t mean to knock down the tower. How do you think she feels when you make fun of her like that?”

Tyler jumps in, “Well, she’s probably sad, but that’s not our fault. We didn’t knock down the tower.”

“Maybe she’s sad because you were blaming her for an accident and then calling her a cry baby,” says Mr. Abbott. “Wouldn’t you be sad too if someone blamed you and called you a cry baby?” he asks.




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“I wouldn’t care,” answers Tanner.

Mr. Abbott comments in his observation notes that Tyler is always quick to blame others yet rarely takes responsibility for his own actions. Mr. Abbott thinks about how all the children have difficulty understanding how another child might feel, but some have more trouble than others.


1. How typical are the behaviors in this classroom? 2. Why do you think some children are so eager to be helpful and to share

while other children are so quick to assign blame and respond in a negative manner?

3. How do you think the gender of each child plays a role in his or her behaviors?


Elementary School: Team





As you read the case, make notes:

1. WHO are the central characters in the case? Describe them. 2. WHAT is taking place? 3. WHERE is the case taking place? Is the environment a factor? 4. WHEN is the case taking place? Is the timing a factor?

Rocío Barone is one of two first-grade teachers at a small rural elementary school. She was raised in a large metropolitan area and is continually amazed at the connections her students share. For example, three students in the first grade this year—Patricia, Kelly, and Samantha—are all cousins. In addition to familial connections, many of the parents attended high school together and have been friends for years, with their children growing up highly connected to one another outside school. Ms. Barone has always had a soft spot for the children who lack those connections within the community. Kashi is a good example. She moved to the small rural community last year. Kashi is the only student in first grade who is African American. All the other students and almost everyone in the community are White. She had a rough transition to the school because her parents were getting a divorce that led to the move. Kashi seemed to have made friends and to have adjusted to the new curriculum last year. But this year she is struggling academically, and the children appear uninterested in playing with her on the playground or being her partner during classroom activities.

As Kashi enters the classroom, she squabbles with Patricia, one of the oldest but smallest children in the class, who also has experienced challenges adjusting to first grade. After kindergarten, Patricia was placed in a special pre-first-grade program for children who need extra time to develop academically or socially. Having her cousins in the same class has helped with the transition, but she continues to struggle with reading and math.

“Well, if you don’t want to sit with me at lunch,” says Kashi, “then you can’t be on my team.”

“I don’t want to be on your team,” Patricia replies. “My mom says I can do whatever I want on the playground. You know, Kashi, you aren’t the boss!”

Ms. Barone intervenes and attempts to calm the situation. “Girls, please try to




get along and speak nicely to each other. Now, take your seats so we can start our day.”

As the day continues, Ms. Barone notes that Patricia and Kashi appear to have resolved their differences for the moment and are working on their science project together without bickering. This is typical for these two girls. One minute they are playing or working nicely together, referring to each other as “best friends,” and the next minute one is telling on the other for saying or doing something “mean.” Ms. Barone has always had trouble getting either of them to give specifics of the mean behavior.

As Ms. Barone asks the children to form their line and leave for lunch, two boys—Bill and Zach—begin pushing and shoving each other in the back of the line.

Bill shouts, “I am tired of you always bumping into me!”

Ms. Barone moves quickly to the back of the line and says, “Boys, please keep your hands to . . .”

Zach interrupts, saying to Bill, “Well, I didn’t mean to bump you, and besides I am tired of you always cutting in line at lunch. You are such a bully to everyone—my dad says you are just like your dad was in school!”

“At least my dad isn’t a sissy,” says Bill, who is very tall and athletic. “I didn’t hurt you or anyone else. You’re just like a little girl.”

Ms. Barone states firmly, “Both of you stop right now. You should be ashamed of yourselves for talking to each other that way.”

Both boys keep looking at each other with angry faces, but they discontinue their verbal and physical assaults. Ms. Barone sends the other children to lunch and has a short talk with the boys.

“Now, Bill, accidents do happen, and Zach may not have meant to bump into you. And Zach, it is not nice to call others names. You both need to keep your hands to yourself.”

The boys give a quick “okay” and walk to lunch.

During the lunch break, Ms. Barone checks her e-mail. Patricia’s mom, Mary, has sent an e-mail to tell Ms. Barone that Patricia has been very upset about how Kashi treats her at school. The e-mail reads as follows:




Ms. Barone,

We have been having several conversations in the evening about Patricia and Kashi. Patricia tells me that Kashi has a “team” of girls and if Patricia doesn’t do what Kashi asked then she cannot be on the “team.” Her dad and I have tried to explain that Patricia should not allow others to boss her around and talk her into doing things she doesn’t want to do. I am already somewhat concerned about Patricia’s self-esteem and want her to have enough self-confidence to stand up for herself. I typically would have continued to try and work with Patricia at home on this issue, but now something else has happened and I thought you should be aware. Last week I was told by my friend who works in the cafeteria that Patricia doesn’t always take all the food options because Kashi is whispering to her to only take the food that Kashi likes. I understand that a teacher cannot know everything that happens during the day, especially on the playground or at lunch, but I wanted you to know about this issue. Any advice you can give us to help Patricia deal with these issues would be helpful.







1. How well do you think Ms. Barone handled the girls entering the classroom? How well do you think she handled the boys in the lunch line? Do you think gender played a role in her treatment of the incidents?

2. What examples of aggression did you notice? 3. What factors in the children’s lives might have contributed to their

behavior? 4. How would you respond to Mary’s e-mail?


Middle School: Basketball Star

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