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Trajectories of students’ perceived instructional support

The majority of students in this study did not report increased teachers’ instructional support; however, some students reported improvement. Findings might also indicate that students at higher risk (i.e. those with more motivational and behavioral problems) perceive increasing instructional support from their teachers during the relatively short initiative.

Teacher and students in classroom. Photo: iStock. Photo: iStock.

The aim of this study was to explore trajectories of teachers’ instructional support as perceived by students during a national initiative to develop lower secondary schools.

In this study, grade eight and nine students (N = 815) from nine Norwegian schools participated in three waves of data collection within one-and-a-half academic years.  Growth mixture model (GMM) techniques were applied to examine change over time in students’ reports of instructional support, allowing the examination of the impact of change in subgroups characterized by different types of growth trajectories. To investigate the impact of improvements in instructional support on students’ academic outcomes, course grade-differences in math were included.

Latent-class growth modeling identified two trajectories of teachers’ instructional support: (1) the “normative group” (90.5%) and (2) the “increasing group” (9.5%). The results indicated that there were no significant differences in math course grades between the groups. However, the two groups differed significantly in behavioral problems and motivation.

The majority of the students in this study did not report increased teachers’ instructional support. However, some students (9.5%) reported improvement in teachers’ instructional support. Further, findings indicate that students in these two groups differ according student engagement and behavior. These findings might indicate that students at higher risk (i.e. those with more motivational and behavioral problems at T1) perceive increasing instructional support from their teachers during the relatively short initiative. This is a positive finding, as we do not expect change during such a short time, especially considering that perceived teachers’ support decrease with students’ age.

One practical implication might be that students at risk are in particular need of high-quality teachers’ instructional support. Results of the current study may guide teachers to support all students in order to promote their social and academic development and learning. Moreover, peer relations influence group membership according to instructional support, which is in line with previous research that addresses the importance of peer relations in early adolescence, also in their learning process.

Full reference:

Havik, T. & Ertesvåg, S.K. (2018) "Trajectories of students’ perceived instructional support". Social Psychology of Education. https://rdcu.be/bcv7a