Teacher ratings of behavior among African American and Caucasian children during the first two years of school

David A. Sbarra, Robert C. Pianta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This article prospectively examines teacher-rated behavior problems and competencies during the first 2 years of formal schooling among African American (n = 190) and Caucasian (n = 350) children. A significant main effect for race was found for both behavior problems and competencies in repeated measures analyses conducted across kindergarten and first-grade teacher ratings. A time × race interaction indicated that teachers rated Caucasian children's competence as stable over time, whereas their African American peers were rated as less competent. According to these data, African American children did not maintain age-appropriate school-based competencies in task orientation and frustration tolerance. No interaction effects were found for a gender × time term for either competencies or behavior problems, suggesting that African American boys do not show more disturbed behavior in the early school years. Behavior trajectories are discussed in terms of the need for competence-enhancing interventions aimed at early school transitions, particularly for African American children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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