Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, Melissa D. Storm, Brook E. Sawyer, Robert C. Pianta & Karen M. LaParo

Abstract

The present study advances a new method for assessing teacher beliefs and priorities. This paper describes the development and psychometric properties of the Teacher Belief Q-Sort (TBQ), an assessment technique that examines teachers’ priorities and beliefs about discipline practices, classroom practices, and beliefs about children. Further, this paper describes the usefulness of this tool by examining differences in beliefs and priorities among four groups of teachers (experienced teachers trained in the Responsive Classroom (RC) Approach, experienced teachers with no such training, pre-service teachers planning on teaching elementary school, and pre-service teachers planning on teaching middle/high school) with the goal of demonstrating the way priorities are sensitive to specialized training and teaching experience. The study establishes the TBQ as a reliable, valid, and useful method. Findings showed that RC teachers hold discipline and teaching practice priorities consistent with training in the RC Approach and that pre-service teachers placed greater priority on spontaneity and collaboration and held more negative views about children’s likeability and motivation than in-service teachers. Findings are discussed in terms of the ways in which teacher priorities are sensitive to specialized training and teaching experience and offer an early indicator of integrity of implementation.