Gender role expectations of classroom teachers

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


School of Education and Health Sciences


Advisor: Carolyn S. Ridenour


This study was a replication of a study conducted by Benz in 1980. Using the same methods that Benz used, the focus was to determine whether or not the pattern of teacher gender role expectations Benz confirmed have held up over 30 years. Prior to the actual study, two pilot studies were conducted to test the validity of the Teacher Sex Role Perception Inventory (TSRP) for use in 2011. Slight modifications to the original 1980 TSRP were made. Since the seminal work on teachers' expectations by Rosenthal and Jacobson in 1967 suggested the power of those expectations to influence student learning, education researchers have continued to study and debate the dynamics of expectations, including those based on students' gender. In 2006 two events reinvigorated the debate about teacher expectations and about gender. First, the advent of the growth model suggested that students with negative experiences in the classroom for 3 consecutive years may suffer incalculable harm to their learning that lasts throughout their schooling. Second, the federal rewriting of Title IX regulations to allow single sex schools gave new life to research on gender-based teaching and learning. In this study 175 teachers from 84 Ohio public school districts completed multiple sets of the TSRP Inventory. A total of 479 TSRPs were ultimately analyzed. Multiple linear regression (model comparison) was used to test the relationships between the four gender role expectations: androgyny, masculine, feminine, and undifferentiated and how they might be related to students' gender, students' achievement, grade level, and teacher gender. Results were generally consistent with Benz's 1980 findings that student high achievement rather than student gender is related to teacher expectation of androgyny. In general, teacher's masculine gender role expectations were related to student gender, not student achievement. Teachers' feminine gender role expectations varied across grade level, teacher gender, student achievement, and student gender. Generally, teacher's undifferentiated gender role expectations were related to student achievement, not student gender, or teacher gender. Gender may not predetermine whether or not students succeed in school but the results suggest that teachers' gender-based perceptions may continue to influence their interactions with students. High achievement seems to be related to androgyny, a socially and psychologically healthy basis for human interactions, but a feminine role is perceived as counter to academic achievement, a finding parallel to the results of 1980, and a concern worthy of further research.


Sex discrimination in education, Interaction analysis in education, Teacher-student relationships Research

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2012, author