Middle School Students' Perceptions of Teacher Style and Effectiveness

Joya Nicole Holmes, Gardner-Webb University


For decades, educators have attempted to isolate teacher-related factors that contribute to student achievement. Many possible factors such as teacher degree levels, teacher preparation, teacher licensure, years of experience, and teacher academic proficiency have been considered and their impact examined. In contrast, little consideration has been given to factors relating to student perceptions of teacher style and effectiveness. What students, specifically middle school students, believe about their teachers' competence, level of care and support, and other more affective factors may be the missing link in identifying factors that play a role in student achievement.

The study detailed in this dissertation was designed to examine student perceptions of the style and effectiveness of teachers and to make connections between these perceptions and other factors such as gender, race, grade level, socioeconomic status, achievement, attendance, and behavior. The study utilized the Student Perception of Teacher Style Scale (SPOTS) which measures teacher style as directive or nondirective. The survey also included a student information section were students rated their teachers' levels of effectiveness and reported demographics information.

An analysis of the data revealed that middle school students perceive their English language arts teachers' styles to be directive and their levels of effectiveness to be very effective. The study found no correlation between perceived teaching style and level of effectiveness. There were only minor statistically significant differences within the variables analyzed.