Student Perceptions of Biology Teachers' Interpersonal Teaching Behaviors and Student Achievement

Victor N. Madike, Walden University


Inadequate student-teacher interactions in undergraduate courses have been linked to poor student performance. Researchers have noted that students' perceptions of student-teacher relationships may be an important factor related to student performance. The administration of a Mid-Atlantic community college prioritized increasing undergraduate biology student performance. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between students' biology achievement and their perceptions of interpersonal teaching behaviors and student-teacher interactions in introductory biology courses. Leary's theory on interpersonal communication and the systems communication theory of Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson served as the theoretical foundation. The Wubbel's Likert-scale questionnaire on student-teacher interactions was administered to 318 undergraduate biology students. Non-parametric Spearman's rank correlations revealed a significant direct correlation between students' grades and their perceptions of teachers' interpersonal teaching behaviors. The relationship between student achievement and students' perceptions of student-teacher interactions prompted the recommendation for additional study on the importance of student-teacher interactions in undergraduate programs. A recommendation for local practice included faculty development on strategies for improving student-teacher interactions. The study's implications for positive social change include increased understanding for administrators and instructors on the importance of teacher-student interactions at the community college level.