Advertisement

Teachers’ recognition of children with an illusion of incompetence

  • Marie-Hélène Fleury-Roy
  • Thérèse Bouffard
Article

Abstract

This study addresses the issue of illusion of incompetence among elementary school children. The first objective is to examine whether teachers are able to recognize children with an illusion of incompetence, The second objective is to see whether teachers’ appraisal of the behaviours and psychological characteristics of these children differ from their appraisals of other children. Seventy-four teachers and their 684 pupils from the fourth and fifth grades who were participating in a larger project were examined. By and large, only 31.3% of the pupils affected by an illusion of incompetence were identified as such by their teachers. However, teachers evaluated boys with an illusion of incompetence as being less autonomous, having a more negative mood and being more withdrawn than their peers. The teachers did not report these characteristics in girls with an illusion of incompetence. The discussion focuses on various hypotheses likely involved in teachers’ difficulty in identifying children whose self-appraisals of competence are negative.

Key words

Illusion of incompetence Perceptions of competence Teacher’s evaluation 

Résumé

Cette étude s’intéresse au phénomène de l’illusion d’incompétence chez l’élève du primaire. Le premier objectif est d’examiner la sensibilité des enseignants à la présence du phénomène chez certains de leurs élèves en vérifiant dans quelle mesure ils sont capables de les identifier. Le second objectif est d’examiner comment ils évaluent diverses caractéristiques de ces mêmes élèves. Soixante-quatorze enseignants de 684 élèves de quatrième et cinquième année du primaire participant à un projet plus vaste portant sur les biais dans l’évaluation de leurs compétences ont été examinés. Dans l’ensemble, les enseignants identifient 31.3% des élèves affectés par l’illusion d’incompétence. Cependant, ils évaluent les garçons présentant ce problème comme étant plus retirés, d’humeur plus négative, et moins autonomes en classe que les autres garçons; aucune de ces différences n’est rapportée chez les filles. La discussion propose diverses hypothèses en regard de cette difficulté des enseignants à reconnaître ceux de leurs élèves ayant un important problème d’évaluation de leurs capacités.

References

  1. Achenbach, T.M. (1991).L’inventaire du comportement du jeune (traduction française du Child Behavior Checklist, CBCL/4-18). Burlington, University of Vermont.Google Scholar
  2. Assor, A., & Connell, J.P. (1992). The validity of students’ self-reports as measures of performance affecting self-appraisals. In D.H. Schunk & J.L. Meece (Eds.),Student perceptions in the classroom (pp. 25–47). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986).Social fondations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory.American Psychologist, 44(9), 1175–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning.Educational Psychologist, 28, 117–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouffard, T., & Bordeleau, L. (2002). Le rôle des agents sociaux dans l’ontogénèse des ressources motivationnelles du jeune élève. In L. Lafortune & P. Mongeau (Eds.),L’affectivité dans l’apprentissage (pp. 183–207). Presses de l’Université du Québec.Google Scholar
  7. Bouffard, T., & Couture, M. (2003). Motivational profile and academic achievement among students enrolled in different schooling tracks.Educational Studies, 29, 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bouffard, T., Boileau, L., & Vezeau, C. (2001). Students’ transition from elementary to high school and changes of the relationship between motivation and academic performance.European Journal of Psychology of Education, 16, 589–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bouffard, T., Boisvert, M., & Vezeau, C. (2003). The illusion of incompetence and its correlates among elementary school children and their parents.Learning and Individual Differences, 14, 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bouffard, T., Marcoux, M.F., Vezeau, C., & Bordeleau, L. (2003). Changes in self-perceptions of competence and intrinsic motivation among elementary school children.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73, 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bouffard, T., Vezeau, C., Chouinard, R., & Marcotte, G. (submitted). L’illusion d’incompétence et les facteurs associés chez l’élève du primaire.Revue Française de Pédagogie.Google Scholar
  12. Bouffard, T., Markovits, H., Vezeau, C., Boisvert, M., & Dumas, C. (1998). The relation between accuracy of self-perception and cognitive development.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68, 321–330.Google Scholar
  13. Bressoux, P., & Pansu, P. (2001). Jugement scolaire et internalité des élèves. In G. Figari & M. Achouche (Eds.),L’activité évaluative réinterrogée: Regards scolaires et socioprofessionnels (pp. 196–205). Bruxelles: De Boeck Université.Google Scholar
  14. Bressoux, P., & Pansu, P. (2003).Quand les enseignants jugent leurs élèves. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  15. Chapman, J.W., & Tunmer, W.E. (1995). Development of young children’s reading self-concepts: An examination of emerging subcomponents and their relationship with reading achievement.Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 154–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Connell, J.P., & Ilardi, B.C. (1987). Self-system concommitants of discrepancies between children’s and teachers’ evaluations of academic competence.Child Development, 58, 1297–1307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dupeyrat, C. (2000).Conceptions de l’intelligence, orientations de buts et apprentissage autorégulé chez des adultes en reprise d’études. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Université Toulouse II.Google Scholar
  18. Dweck, C.S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning.American Psychologist, 41, 1040–1048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Flammer, G.H. (1989). Developmental analysis of control beliefs. In A. Bandura (Ed.),Self-efficacity in changing societies (pp. 69–113). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Guilbert, D.J. (1990).Evaluation psychométrique du concept de soi chez l’enfant d’âge scolaire. Unpublished master dissertation. Université du Québec à Montréal.Google Scholar
  21. Harter, S. (1982). The perceived competence scale for children.Child Development, 53, 87–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harter, S. (1985). Competence as a dimension of self-evaluation: Toward a comprehensive model of self-worth. In R. Leahy (Ed.),The development of the self (pp. 55–122). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Harter, S. (1990). Causes correlates, and the functional role of global self-worth: A life-span perspective. In R.J. Sternberg (Ed.),Competence considered (pp. 67–97). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Harter, S. (1992). The relationship between perceived competence, affect, and motivational orientation within the classroom: Processes and patterns of change. In A.K. Boggiano & T.S. Pittman (Eds.),Achievement and Motivation: A social Developmental Perspective (pp. 77–114). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Harter, S., & Pike, R. (1984). The pictorial scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children.Child Development, 55, 1969–1982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Langer, E.J. (1979). The illusion of incompetence. In L.C. Perlmutter & R.A. Monty (Eds.).Choice and perceived control (pp. 301–313). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Jacobs, J.E., Lanza, S., Osgood, D.W., Eccles, J.S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Changes in children’s self-competence and values: Gender and domain differences across grades one through twelve.Child Development, 73, 509–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones, S., & Myhill, D. (2004). “Troublesome boys” and “compliant girls”: Gender identity and perceptions of achievement and underachievement.British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25(5), 547–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miserandino, M. (1996). Children who do well in school: Individual differences in perceived competence and autonomy in above-average children.Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 203–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nicholls, J. (1979). Development of perception of own attainment and causal attributions for success and failure in reading.Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 94–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Otis, A.S., & Lennon, R.T. (1971).Epreuve d’habilité mentale Otis-Lennon. Niveau Élémentaire II. Forme J. Ottawa: Institut de Recherches psychologiques.Google Scholar
  32. Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (2001). Gender differences in writing motivation and achievement of middle school students: A function of gender orientation?Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 366–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pansu, P., Bressoux, P., Leonesio, A.M., & Mezière, C. (2000). Pour une analyse de la construction du jugement scolaire.Psychologie et Education, 42, 51–66.Google Scholar
  34. Phillips, D.A. (1984). The illusion of incompetence among academically competent children.Child Development, 55, 2000–2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Phillips, D.A. (1987). Socialization of perceived academic competence among highly competent children.Child Development, 58, 1308–1320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Phillips, D.A., & Zimmerman, M. (1990). The Developmental Course of Perceived Competence and Incompetence among Competent Children. In R.J. Sternberg & J. Kolligian Jr. (Eds.),Competence Considered (pp. 41–66). Rew Haven, CT: Yale university press.Google Scholar
  37. Pierre, P.A. (1999).Les indicateurs de l’effort scolaire selon les enseignants et enseignantes de niveau secondaire. Unpublished master dissertation. Université du Québec à Montréal.Google Scholar
  38. Ruble, D.N., Grosovsky, E.H., Frey, K.S., & Cohen, R. (1992). Developmental changes in competence assessment. In A.K. Boggiano (Ed.),Achievement and motivation: A social developmental perspective. Cambridge studies in social and emotional development (pp. 138–164). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Schommer, M., & Dunnell, P. A. (1994). A comparison of epistemological beliefs between gifted and non-gifted high school students.Roeper Review, 16, 297–210.Google Scholar
  40. Stipek, D., & Gralinski, J.H. (1996). Children’s beliefs about intelligence and school performance.Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 397–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stipek, D., & MacIver, D. (1989). Development change in children’s assessment of intellectual competence.Child Development, 60, 521–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wigfield, A., Eccles, J.S., & Pintrich, P.R. (1996). Development between the ages of 11 and 25. In D.C. Berliner & R.C. Calfee (Eds.),Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 148–185). New York: Simon & Schuster/Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de PsychologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations