Volume 29, Issue 2 (2000)
Rates of Classroom Participation and the Validity of Sociometry
Chad Hamilton, Douglas Fuchs, Lynn S. Fuchs, Holley Roberts
Abstract: We explored the effects of different rates of classroom participation on the peer ratings of three student groups: (a) students with learning disabilities; (b) low-achieving nondisabled students; and (c) average- and high-achieving students. Sociometric ratings from 14 classrooms with full, or nearly full, student participation (i.e., 92% to 100%) were sampled randomly and repeatedly so that 25%, 50%, and 75% of the students in each of the classes were involved. At each participation level, peer ratings were compared against a“standard” level of 92% to 100% for the three student groups. Results suggested that, as the rate of classroom participation decreased, ratings tended to diverge increasingly from standard-level ratings. This was particularly true for the low-achieving students; less so for students with learning disabilities; and least so for average- and high-achieving students. In addition, across the three student groups, findings indicated 75% and below represented an insufficient participation rate from which to generalize to the whole classroom. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.
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