Authority Structure, Classroom Openness and Student Outcomes

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The effects of open education on student outcomes were investigated using classroom authority structure analysts. It was maintained that student outcomes are contingent on the congruence between formal and informal authority structure. The former is determined by the educational policy of the school, while the latter reflects pupils' ratings of teacher readiness to share classroom decision making with them. A Student Decision Making Scale was devised to assess shared authority as perceived by students. Three open elementary schools with 274 students in 10 classes, and two comparable traditional schools with 224 students in nine classes were included in the present sample. Results indicated that more congruent authority structure was related to higher reading comprehension and vocabulary attainment, as well as to lower social desirability scores. This was true both when (a) shared authority was higher at the formal as well as the informal level (open schools with high shared authority in the classroom), and (b) shared authority was lower at the formal and the informal level (traditional schools with little authority shared in class).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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