The effect of externalizing behaviours in the classroom on students' progress in literacy and numeracy

Year: 1994

Author: Rowe, Kenneth J.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
An enduring concern of teachers, parents and mental health professionals is the extent to which externalizing behaviour problems in the classroom-presently called disruptive behavior disorders in DSM-III-R (APA, 1987)-(i.e., attention deficit/overactivity and conduct disorders), adversely affect students' opportunities for learning and educational development. Students whose behaviours are regarded as inattentive, disruptive or maladjusted have been shown to be at risk of poor educational progress. In addition to the consequences for an individual, such behaviour problems in the classroom diminish educational opportunities for other students and contribute to teacher stress. A further concern is that externalizing behaviour disorders ". . . are quite refractory to typical interventions and, like severe underachievement, comprise a major psychological, economic and social problem" (Hinshaw, 1992:894).

Using illustrative data from the first two stages of a current three- year longitudinal study among 11,000 students (aged 5-16 years) drawn from 90 government, Catholic and independent primary and secondary schools, this paper provides estimates of the effects of externalizing behaviours in the classroom on students' progress in literacy and numeracy. Estimates of class/teacher contextual effects are also provided, and the utility of possible intervention strategies is discussed.

Back