The effects of classification on teacher and parent interpretations of the cognitive performance of children with intellectual disability

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University of Alabama Libraries

Previous research has indicated that the classification of intellectual disability (ID) may negatively impact interpretations of the cognitive performance of children with ID, especially for general-education teachers. However, there are some findings that suggest that these negative effects of classification may be overcome when competing information is present. The current study examined the effects of classification by having three groups of participants, parents, general-education teachers, and special education teachers, watch a video of a child who was classified as either typically developing or as having an intellectual disability perform a time-telling task. Level of performance was also manipulated such that the child in the video performed either very poorly or very well on the task. The results indicated that level of performance was a more significant predictor of participant judgments than classification, particularly for general-education teachers. Further, parents and special education teachers exhibited a tendency to overestimate the performance of the child in the video, regardless of classification or level of performance. Performance attributions and correlations between the accuracy of judgments and participant variables were also examined.

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Developmental psychology, Experimental psychology, Special education