The Teacher Belief Q-Sort

Online TBQ Demo

You can try the online TBQ in demo mode.
Enter your email address when asked for your the Teacher ID.

Description of the TBQ

The TBQ is a tool that measures three aspects of teachers’ beliefs and priorities: Discipline and Behavior Management, Teaching Practices, and Beliefs about Students. The TBQ method offers the opportunity to describe characteristics of a sample of teachers in relation to these three dimensions as well as compare a group of teachers’ beliefs to an “ideal” teacher.

The measure is more fully explained in Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Storm, M., Sawyer, B., Pianta, R. C., & LaParo (2006).The Teacher Belief Q-Sort: A measure of teachers priorities in relation to disciplinary practices, teaching practices, and beliefs about children. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 141-165.

The TBQ was developed to assess teachers’ priorities and beliefs, especially as they change during the process of implementation of new interventions. Integrity of implementation has become an important issue in prevention science, accompanying the press for evidence-based practice in schools. Although there are many existing measures of integrity of implementation, there are very few that actually capture the gradual process of teacher change and the way in which teachers’ priorities and personal philosophies shift as a function of specific training experiences. This type of change is difficult to measure. Not only are there few tools available, but existing tools are highly sensitive to bias.

The Q-Sort method, borrowed from the fields of personality and developmental psychology (see Stephenson, 1935, Block, 1961), offers two major advantages over traditional methods. First, the Q-Sort Method creates “forced choice” for teachers, creating the need to prioritize some practices over others, reducing, but not eliminating, the likelihood of reporting bias. This is especially important for measuring teachers’ priorities. A imitation of the questionnaire method is that teachers prefer to view themselves in a positive light. This becomes less of a barrier in interpretation of the TBQ because teachers are ranking beliefs relative to one another as opposed to agreeing or disagreeing with each belief and because teachers are not necessarily aware of the constructs of primary importance (Stephenson, 1980).

Second, the Q-Sort Method offers both a person-oriented and variable-oriented view; the data can be analyzed using simple, commonly used statistical techniques, so that people, not traits, become the experimental units (Brown, 1977; McKeown & Thomas, 1988). This is an important feature in understanding teachers’ sensitivity to training. For example, alignment in priorities with a teacher trainer can be examined using the Q-method, the person-oriented method: teacher trainers that exemplify the priorities associated with a particular intervention complete a TBQ, the trainees can complete the same TBQ, and correlational methods can be used to examine the relation between the trainer and trainee, indicating newly developed congruence between the trainer and trainee’s priorities. Priorities can be characterized using the R-method, the variable-oriented method: data can be factor analyzed to identify constructs of importance and teachers in different groups can be compared on these constructs.

Existing Work Using the TBQ

    Published Papers
  • Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Sawyer, B. E. (2004). Primary-grade teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, attitudes toward teaching, and discipline and teaching practice priorities in relation to the Responsive Classroom Approach. Elementary School Journal, 104, 321-341.
  • Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Storm, M., Sawyer, B., Pianta, R. C., & LaParo (2006).The Teacher Belief Q-Sort: A measure of teachers. priorities in relation to disciplinary practices, teaching practices, and beliefs about children. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 141-165.
    • Submitted Work
  • Decker, L. & Rimm-Kaufman, S. E. (Submitted). Personality characteristics and teacher beliefs among pre-service teachers.
    • Work in Progress
  • Yu Jen (Iris) Chiu has been conducting a study of more than 250 Taiwanese teachers to validate use of the TBQ in a Taiwanese sample and to compare the Taiwanese sample to a group of American teachers. For more information, contact Iris Chiu via email: yc6c at virginia dot edu
  • Arlene Thorsen at University of Stavenger in Norway has been conducting research describing the beliefs and priorities of Norwegian teachers. For more information, contact Arlene Thorsen via email: arlene dot thorsen at uis dot no
  • Using the TBQ in your research

    If you are interested in using the online TBQ in your research, please contact Sara Rimm-Kaufman via email: serk at virginia dot edu for more information.

    About the TBQ

    This web-based version of the TBQ was developed by the Rimm-Kaufman Group.
    Our thanks.