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PROBLEM STUDENTS: A CONTEXTUAL PHENOMENON?

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The number of referrals to different types of special education has been increasing for years in the Netherlands. In particular the number of children with Learning and/or Behavioral Difficulties (LBD) has increased sharply. The teacher usually describes them as students with problems or with special educational needs. This study investigates which factors influence teachers' judgement in this respect, with a particular focus on contextual factors at class level. The study looked at 2,340 students from 114 primary school classes in the Netherlands. Multilevel analyses show that 13% of the total variation in teachers' judgement is group (context) level variance and 87% individual (student) level variance. Contextual factors which influence teachers' judgement are: the average level of achievement in the class, the amount of disruptive behavior in the whole teaching group and the percentage of boys in the class. Various characteristics of individual teachers turn out to be irrelevant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-01-01

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