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Boys Beginning School: Behavior and Performance

Delaney, Jamie L (2005) Boys Beginning School: Behavior and Performance. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Boys are being out-performed academically by girls in school. One possible explanation is that boys' higher activity levels may cause them to spend the early grades learning how to control their behavior rather than focusing on academics. It is possible that teachers may be more punitive toward active boys in particular, and if boys are disciplined more, perhaps they are more likely to see school as a punitive place. This may make it more difficult for boys to develop competence in school. This short-term, longitudinal study examined gender differences in activity level and teacher-reported relationship quality with more active kindergarten students. In addition, data were gathered on the amount of correction received by all students, but particularly by boys who exhibited higher activity levels. Ethnicity of teachers and students was also examined, and qualitative case studies of the most active children were developed. Participants were 29 kindergarteners in four classrooms in an urban, low-income, ethnically diverse elementary school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Data were collected via classroom observations, teacher report measures, grades and discipline records, and through open-ended interviews with teachers and consultants. Study results indicate that, on average, boys were significantly more active than girls in this sample. Boys received more correction from teachers than did girls. No difference was uncovered in teacher affect expressed toward boys as compared to girls, and teacher affect did not appear to differ between African American and Caucasian children. Highly active children were disciplined more harshly than less active children. Case studies indicated that protective factors may operate for some active children, preventing high-conflict teacher-child relationships. Implications for further research and for teacher training are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Delaney, Jamie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVondra, Joan I
Committee MemberJohnson, Carl
Committee MemberShivers, Eva
Committee MemberNovacky, George
Date: 29 August 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 August 2005
Approval Date: 29 August 2005
Submission Date: 23 August 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: disparate discipline; gender; outcomes; activity level; kindergarten
Other ID:, etd-08232005-142027
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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