Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Problem children -- Education, Child development



Physical Description

1 online resource (76 leaves)


This project was an exploratory study of malperformance among 60 children of the seventh grade of Creston Elementary School, Portland, Oregon. This class was described as an unusually disruptive group of students and was considered by the school as one of the most troublesome in the school's history. The study focused on the concept of malperformance itself and the reliability of its assessment. The major hypotheses were these: A. Teachers are consistent among themselves in how they define malperformance and in whom they designate as malperformers. B. Teachers' and students' estimation of the students' level of performance in the dimensions studied are positively related. C. A student's self- estimate in the dimensions studied is related to his estimation of the teachers' reactions to himself and other classmates. D. The label of malperformer is associated with lower ratings of personal behavior and school subject grades. E. Factors of sex, age, and I.Q. are related to malperformance. Each teacher was asked to define malperformance and to identify malperforming students in his class. Each student was asked if he felt the teachers liked him and if they were fair. The Pupil Behavior Inventory, a standardized rating scale dealing with five areas of student behavior, was administered to the teachers. A modified form of the Pupil Behavior Inventory was administered to each student to determine his assessment of his own behavior. Data was analyzed with the help of statistical tests of significance to evaluate the differences obtained. Study findings did not support the hypothesis that teachers are consistent among themselves in how they defined malperformance and which students they designated as malperformers. Each teacher defined malperformance differently. Some definitions were difficult to interpret in terms of specific behavior traits. There was only 53% marginal probability that another teacher would agree when a particular teacher designated a student as a malperformer. However, there was no significant difference in the number of students designated as malperformers by each teacher. Findings yielded evidence to support the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between the teachers' estimation of the level of the students' performance and the students' own assessment of his performance. Students designated as normals rated their own behavior very close to teacher ratings. In contrast, malperformers tended to rate their behavior much higher than did the teachers; however, malperformer self-ratings were lower than self-ratings of the other students. Malperformers had lower personal behavior and school subject grades than normals. No significant differences were found in the I. Q. range for normals and malperformers. This study indicated the need for more clarity and consistency in evaluating student behavior within the school system. Further research is needed in developing methods of identifying problem students and how to best help them.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Portland State College. School of Social Work

Persistent Identifier