Schools Focusing on Grades Over Learning See More Violence Against Teachers

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

Are schools which put too much emphasis on grades putting teachers in danger? A troubling new study finds that schools which place higher focus on test scores and bottom-line results instead of student learning are more likely to see children use violence against their teachers.

Conducted by researchers, including Professor Eric Anderman from The Ohio State University, the study surveyed over 9,000 teachers throughout the United States. These educators reported on the instructional focus at their schools and any experiences of violence directed at them by their students. This included physical attacks, verbal threats, or damage to property by students, parents, colleagues, or school administrators.

“What was really striking was this performance culture predicted all kinds of increased violence by students, whether it be physical violence, verbal threatening or property violence,” says Eric Anderman, lead author of the study and professor of educational psychology at Ohio State, in a university release.

“It wasn’t the mastery part. It was when there’s this focus on grades and test scores – ‘you’ve got to get good grades, school is all about grades’ – that’s when kids acted out against teachers.”

The study, which spanned from fall 2019 through the 2020-2021 academic year, also explored how school culture impacts teacher safety and student behavior. Teachers reported on the various types of violence they encountered, such as objects thrown at them, and obscene gestures made by kids. Researchers then assessed their school’s culture through statements reflecting either a mastery-focused (learning) or performance-focused (grades and test scores) climate.

The findings were published in the Journal of School Violence.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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