Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 403–427

Perceived organizational structure for teacher liking: the role of peers’ perceptions of teacher liking in teacher–student relationship quality, motivation, and achievement


DOI: 10.1007/s11218-007-9031-1

Cite this article as:
Davis, H.A. & Lease, A.M. Soc Psychol Educ (2007) 10: 403. doi:10.1007/s11218-007-9031-1


Previous research has identified the role of perceived peer hierarchies, or organizational structures, in affecting students’ adjustment to school (Lease et al. 2003, Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 194–217). The purpose of this study was to examine whether middle school classrooms can be described in terms of the perceived status individual students hold for who will and will not be ‘liked’ by the teacher. Specifically we examined: (1) Do students share a mutually agreed on representation, a perceived organizational structure, for describing relative status with their teacher? (2) Are teachers perceived as systematically favoring girls or boys? (3) Are peers’ perceptions of teacher liking associated with individual students’ social and academic motivation and relationship quality with teachers? (4) Are students identified by peers as ‘not liked’ at risk for long-term teacher rejection and underachievement? And, (5) What are the underlying criteria students use to judge teacher likeability? Data for this study were drawn from peer ratings from 516 (262 boys, 254 girls) middle school students in 20 classrooms. Findings indicate multidimensional scaling techniques can be used to map the ‘teacher-liking space,’ accounting for  > 90% of the variability in peers’ ratings of teacher likeability. Additionally, findings indicate perceived status in the teacher-liking space has consequences for students’ achievement and teacher relationship quality.


Teacher–student relationships Student–teacher relationships Teacher differential behavior Teacher’s pet phenomena Multidimensional scaling Cognitive modeling Third person perception 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Educational Policy and LeadershipThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Educational Psychology and Instructional TechnologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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